Again it was asked, "Is it the operator's brain, or an immaterial spirit that moves Planchette? Answer 'brain' or 'force.' "


"Is it the will of a living person or of an immaterial spirit? Answer ' force ' or 'spirit.' "


"Give, first, the wife's Christian name, and then my favorite name for her." This was accurately done.

"What is your own name?"

"Only wife."

We are not quite sure of the meaning of your answer. Explain."


"Who are you that writes?"


"Does no one tell wife what to write? If so, who?"


"Whose spirit?"

"Wife's brain."

"But how does wife's brain know certain secrets? "

"Wife's spirit unconsciously guides."

"Can you foresee the future? "


On another occasion it was asked: "Write out the prayer used at the advancement of a Mark Master Mason."

"Answer: Almighty Ruler of the Universe and Architect of all Worlds, we beseech Thee to accept this, our brother, whom we have this day received into our most honorable company of Mark Master Masons. Grant him to be a worthy member of our brotherhood, and may he be in his own person a perfect mirror of all Masonic virtues. Grant that all our doings may be to Thy honor and glory and to the welfare of all mankind."

Mr. Newnham adds : "This prayer was written off instantaneously and very rapidly. I must say that no prayer in the slightest degree resembling it is made use of in the ritual of any Masonic degree, and yet it contains more than one strictly accurate technicality connected with the degree of Mark Master Mason. My wife has never seen any Masonic prayers, whether in 'Carlile,' or any other real or spurious ritual of the Masonic Order."

The whole report shows the same instantaneous appreciation of the written questions, by the intelligence and appropriateness with which the answer was framed, though Mrs. Newnham never had any idea what the question was until after the answer was written and read, and the answers very often were entirely contrary to the prejudices and expectations of both the persons engaged in the experiments.

The following case may fairly be placed in the third class of messages, namely, those conveying intelligence which seems to be beyond the possible knowledge of the writer or of any person present. It is a well authenticated and interesting example of Planchette-writing, reported to Mr. Myers, the reporter being Mr. Hensleigh Wedgwood, a cousin and brother-in-law of Charles Darwin, and himself a savant of no small reputation. Two ladies, sisters, whom he designates as Mrs. R. and Mrs. V., were for many years intimate and valued friends of Mr. Wedgwood, and it was in co-operation with one or the other of these ladies that the results to be noted, along with much other interesting matter, were obtained.

Sitting alone, neither of the ladies nor Mr. Wedgwood was able to obtain any results at all with Planchette; the board remained absolutely motionless. The two ladies together could obtain no writing, but only wavy lines, made rapidly, like a person writing at full speed, but with Mr. Wedgwood co-operating with either of the ladies the writing was intelligible, but was much stronger and more vivacious with Mrs. V. than with Mrs. R. The following extracts are from Mrs. R.'s journal of a sitting, June 26, 1889:

"With Mr. W. and Mrs. R. at the board, Planchette writes: 'A spirit is here who thinks he will be able to write, through the medium. Hold very steady, and he will try first to draw.' We turned the page, and a sketch was made, rudely enough, of course, but with much apparent care. Planchette then wrote:

"' Very sorry can't do better; was meant for test; must write for you instead. (Signed) J. G.'

"We did not fully understand this drawing; and Mr. W. asked, 'Will J. G. try again? ' which it did. Below the drawing it wrote: 'Now look.' We did, and this time clearly comprehended the arm and sword. Mr. W. asked, ' What does the drawing represent?'

"' Something given to me.'

"Mrs. R. asked, 'Are you a man or a woman?'

"'A man - John G.'

"Mr. W. asked, ' How was it given to you? '

"' On paper and other things.'

"Mr. W. 'We don't know J. G. Have you anything to do with us?'

"' No connection.'

"Mr. W. said he knew of a J. Gifford, and wondered if that was the name.

"' Not Gifford; Gurwood.'

"Mr. W. suggested that he had been killed in storming some fort.

"' I wish I had died fighting.'

"' Were you a soldier?'

"' I was in the army.'

"' Can you say what rank? '

"' No; it was the pen did for me, not the sword.'

"We suggested that he was an author who had failed or been maligned.

"' I did not fail. I was not slandered. Too much for me after - the pen was too much for me after my wound.'

"Asked to repeat, it wrote: 'I was wounded in the Peninsula. It will be forty-four years next Christmas Day since I killed myself - I killed myself. John Gurwood.'"

Leaving Mrs. R.'s diary, the following is the account Mr. Wedgwood wrote of the stance at the time: -

"June 26, 1889. - Had a sitting at Planchette with Mrs. R. this morning. Planchette said there was a spirit there who thought it could draw if we wished it. We said we should be glad if he would try. Accordingly Planchette made a rude attempt at a hand and arm proceeding from an embattled wall and holding a sword. A second attempt made the subject clearer. Planchette said it was meant for a test. The spirit signed it 'J. G.' No connection of ours, he said. We gradually elicited that his name was John Gurwood, who was wounded in the Peninsula in 1810, and killed himself on Christmas Day, 1845. It was not the wound but the pen that did it.

Automatism Planchette 5

"July 5, 1889. - I made the foregoing memorandum the same day, having very little expectation that there would be any verification.