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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 34.djvu/744

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

in answer to questions asked in writing or verbally, sometimes openly and sometimes in folded slips of paper. It was soon discovered that the character of this writing was of two kinds. The long messages were neatly written, with the i's dotted and the t's crossed, and often produced unasked, or not in direct answer to a question; while the short ones, in answer to questions asked only shortly beforehand, were scrawly, hardly legible, and evidently written without the aid of the eye. The many methods of producing the short writings were repeated by a professional presti-digitateur much more skillfully than by Slade. The commission distinctly saw every step in Slade's method, on one occasion or another, but were utterly baffled by the conjurer (Mr. Harry Kellar), who subsequently revealed his methods to Dr. Furness. The long messages are written beforehand, on slates to be substituted for the ones given him at a favorable opportunity. At the last séance with Dr. Slade, two prepared slates were resting against a table behind him, and Dr. Furness kept a sharp watch upon these slates. "Unfortunately, it was too sharp; for one second the medium saw me looking at them. It was enough. That detected look prevented the revelation of those elaborate spirit messages. But when the séance was over, and he was signing the receipt for his money, I passed round behind his chair and pushed these slates with my foot, so as to make them fall over, whereupon the writing on one of them was distinctly revealed." The medium at once pushed back his chair, snatched the slates, hurriedly washed them, and could with difficulty regain sufficient composure to sign the receipt for the exorbitant payment of his services. This is not the first time that Slade has been exposed, and it is hoped that this verdict of the Seybert commission, "fraudulent throughout," will be sufficient to make further exposure unnecessary.[1]

Another medium, Mrs. Patterson, gives a closely similar performance. Dr. Knerr had a sitting with her, and adjusted a mirror


    of the supernatural origin of Slade's performances, and one of their number (Zöllner) found the theory of their explanation in harmony with the mathematical notions of the fourth dimension of space. Prof. G. S. Fullerton, the secretary of the Seybert commission, has interviewed Zöllner's associates, and finds that, "of the four eminent men whose names have made famous the investigation, there is reason to believe one, Zöllner, was of unsound mind at the time, and anxious for an experimental demonstration of an already accepted hypothesis (the fourth dimension of space); another, Fechner, was partly blind, and believed because of Zöllner's observations; a third, Scheibner, was also afflicted with defective vision, and not entirely satisfied in his own mind as to the phenomena; and a fourth, Weber, was advanced in age, and did not even recognize the disabilities of his associates." None knew anything about conjuring, and, deservedly honored as these men are in their own specialties, they were certainly not fitted to compete with a professional like Slade.

  1. Another member of the commission (Mr. Coleman Sellers) says, with regard to Slade: "The methods of this medium's operations appear to me to be perfectly transparent, and I wish to say emphatically that I am astonished beyond expression at the confidence of this