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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 49.djvu/535

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515
"SPIRIT" WRITING.

filling my expectations. This is curiously shown in the emotion it displays. It will twist violently about, pound on the table, bruise my fingers, break my pencils, and show every sign of the greatest excitement, while I, the spectator, survey it with the coolest and most skeptical curiosity. But it will do this only when such emotion seems to me appropriate, just as the persons I see in my dreams may manifest an emotion which I do not share. My hand sometimes abuses me, especially for my skepticism, and sometimes reproves my faults in a very embarrassing manner. It has frequently urged me, upon very plausible grounds, to do things which I would not dream of doing. In every case save one the reasons given were untrue, and in that one I am satisfied the coincidence was due to chance. On two occasions my hand wrote a short stanza with little hesitation. I have never done such a thing myself, but the verses were so incoherent and so atrocious

PSM V49 D535 Paranormal scribbling.jpg

Figs. 9,and 10.

that I have no doubt they were developed successively, each being based upon the suggestions of the preceding in the manner above described."

I can see no reason for ascribing B——'s writing to subconscious states. It was never intelligible unless B—— allowed himself to "read" it. If he persistently distracted his attention or refused to wonder what his hand was trying to write, it would make marks resembling writing, but never "wrote sense." It was highly suggestible. If he wondered why it did not print, it would instantly try to print; and if, while trying to print, he refused to wonder what it said, it produced strange characters resembling some unknown language. Fig. 9 is a facsimile of a few of these; they were written as rapidly as the hand could fly. Fig. 10 is a facsimile of some writing executed by a Dr. Mayhew, October 5, 1853 (Neueste spiritualistische Mittheilungen, Berlin, 1862), and purports to be an account written by a spirit from the planet Saturn of the Saturnian mythology. In this case the spirit kindly wrote a "translation" giving the general sense, and in B——'s case, had he for a moment believed that the writing was intelligible to the writer, I have no doubt that a "translation"