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Some one, desiring to pose this ready writer, asked for its theory of the Gulf Stream; which it announced, without hesitation, to be "Turmoil in the water, produced by conglomeration of icebergs." Objection was made that the warmth of the waters of the natural phenomenon rather contradicted this original view of the subject; to which Planchette tritely responded, "Friction produces heat." "But how does friction produce heat in this case?" pursued the questioner. "Light a match," Light a match," was the inconsequent answer-Planchette evidently believing that the pupil was ignorant of first principles. "But the Gulf-Stream flows north; how, then, can the icebergs accumulate at its source?" was the next interrogation, which elicited the contemptuous reply, "There is as much ice and snow at the South Pole as at the North, ignorant Clarkey." "But it flows from the Gulf of Mexico," pursued the undismayed. "You've got me there, unless it flows underground," was the cool and unexpected retort; and it wound up with declaring, sensibly, that, after all, "it is a meeting of the North and South Atlantic currents, which collide, and the eddie (sic) runs northward."
On being asked what had interfered with the arrival of a certain telegram, it replied, Yankee fashion, with another question, "What generally stops a telegram?" This being beyond the power of the company to answer, it gave its own idea-"The operators turn tipsy."
It said, of a certain Senator, that he was "a traitor to his country," because "he went for Johnson; " and on being asked what induced him to give his vote against impeachment, wrote,
"Satan finds some mischief still
It has something to say on every subject—is familiar with Shakespeare, and the glacial scratches, and even claims to know Xogkloprt; and Xogkloprt was a being evolved from the depths of our inner consciousness, through the medium of table-tipping; and we rather flatter ourselves that the name at least is uncommon. Planchette tells us that
the history of this gentleman of complex consonants was terrible, so mysterious," that "he died for the sins of others." When asked where he lived, it answered, ambiguously, "Among the vines; " but on being pressed to know whether he was a vine-dresser, answered, with great emphasis, Certainly not." Further questioning elicited that he resided in" an ancient country, far beyond the sea," up among the mountains," at a place called "Aulean, in Greece." The city has long been dead. There was a woman in the case; "but she drove him wild; for he loved her, but she hated him." Some awful crime was committed, but what, Planchette says, "I dare not tell." Further communication elicited that this interesting character is now a resident of “a realm of imperishable woe." And Planchette, having once written the word "positism," defended itself by saying, "Xogkloprt joggled my elbow; I meant 'positivism.'"
I have said that our Planchette is poetical. One day it suddenly broke out as follows:
"Wreathe the bowl with flowers of soul,
That no delight can find us,
These lines were unknown to either
of the operators; but a lady in the room at once gave them correctly, substituting" dull earth" for "delight,” in the last line; and when Planchette was asked where it learned the verses, it declared, "Miss T. had them in her mind," which the lady affirmed, positively, that she had not; at least, consciously.
It has given us several poems of its own composition; short, to be sure, and not always perfectly rhythmical; but it is fond of asserting its authorship, by writing after them, "This is perfectly original "- —a fact that no one who reads them would ever doubt. The following is an instance:
"A maid sat on ye shore,
This was written off without hesitation or stoppage of any kind, with the Flirt's hands and my own upon the board. The former never made a rhyme in her life, and I am positive that my brain had no connection with this remarkable production; so that we do not quarrel with Planchette for the honor of its creation; neither does it seem proud of its poetical talent, for of some other lines of its own, it wrote,
Any person, with half an idea, could write such supreme ridiculous nonsense."
These are some few of the facts of which we are cognizant. Other people have probably many, that are equally curious and amusing, if they could only be made known.
That some strange influence, of a perfectly natural character, produces these results, we have no doubt; and at this point I would wish to make a suggestion of a theory, which I cannot do better than state, in Planchette's own words, on being asked for a title for this paper and an opening sentence; to which it replied, "I will give one sentence, but that is all;" and, after a reflective pause, it produced, with unusual deliberation, the following:
"Say, I am an impostor; but I am not. People do not understand how to use me. I act through the aid of magnetic principles, with the aid of positive and negative magnetism."
Now, I propose to give a statement, according to Planchette itself, of its manner of action, and the different elements required to give its communications clearness and point. It declares that certain people possess positive magnetism; others, negative magnetism; still others, negative electricity. Positive electricity exists only in the atmosphere. In order to produce writing, the combination is required of a person possessing positive magnetism with another endowed either with negative magnetism or negative electricity. Every such combination is not, however, successful; a certain balance of qualities must be preserved. Some are deficient in the positive or negative character; in which case, the board
either does not move, or tips violently in every direction, or makes wild marks and scratches, or possibly writes nonsense. Sometimes the addition of a third person will supply the required power; but it is impossible to tell, from any previous knowledge, what character will influence the machine; and it is not easy to know in what proportions the positive and negative effect a perfect combination. The Flirt is positive magnetic; the Boy of Eighteen is positive magnetic; the Angel is negative magnetic; Clarkey is negative electric; Sassiness is "an unpleasant mixture of magnetic and electric; " Hon. Clarke is positive magnetic; and his wife has such strong positive magnetism, that no negative has yet been found powerful enough to unite with her, though the instrument tips and moves under her hands. Combinations of the Boy of Eighteen and the Angel; the Boy of Eighteen and Clarkey; the Flirt and the Angel; the Flirt and Clarkey; Sassiness, the Flirt, and Hon. Clarke, will produce manifestations equally good; that is, answers equally sensible and to the point.
The broad portion of the board and the point represent the two poles of the magnet; and Planchette requires a different adjustment of hands with reference to the combinations. When the Flirt writes with Clarkey, the point must be under the hands of the latter, else the instrument refuses to move. When the Flirt writes with the Angel, the position is reversed. If this is not done, the instrument will still write, but write backwards, and produces the effect of the impression on blottingpaper; that is, in order to decipher the words, it is necessary to hold the paper before a looking-glass. With Clarkey and the Boy of Eighteen the broad part of the machine must be on Clarkey's side, so that any suspicion of foul play is averted from the operators—who are, indeed, above suspicion; even if such proof of their innocence were wanting, as is given by the impossibility of their having coined certain of the responses, on account of their ignorance of the
subjects discussed. The contrary elements of electricity and magnetism are succinctly defined by Planchette, as "quickening" and "quieting;" and it evidently reaches its highest activity. when one nature is the complement of the other.
The answers to any question asked, mentally, have generally been imperfect, even with the questioner's hands upon the board; and we have not cared to ask them, believing, as we do, that the effect is produced by an unconscious and unexplained though not inexplicable combination of intellectual power working under strictly natural laws.
The evening of Monday, August 1st, was very cold and clear, and we spent it in-doors with Planchette, who was so very satisfactory, that I can scarcely do better than give our questions and its answers as they came, stating, first, that the Flirt and I had our hands upon the board, and that the questions were asked by a third person. There was no delay nor hesitation in the answers, the moving-power worked instantly, and the writing was perfectly legible. The conversation began in this wise: Questioner. Mention three of the most marked characteristics of positive magnetic individuals.
Planchette. Sympathetic, cold, and
Q. These qualities are inconsistent, Planchette. One may sympathize warmly, but be physically incapable of expression. They are not parts of the same temperament.
P. I said they could be united in the same person.
Q. Is any such person present?
Q. Who is she?
P. I don't like to say.
P. Because she don't like it.
Q. Never mind that; say on.
P. All right. Sassiness.
Q. What are the characteristics of electric people?
Q. What is the difference between the two states ?
P. Insanity is a confusion of previ ous ideas and actions.
Q. What, then, is delirium?
Q. What is the moving principle of thought?
P. Who? Where, Sassiness?
Q. Are your writings the result of involuntary mental action on our part?
P. There is no involuntary working of the mind. Each thought is depent (sic), unknowingly, on an antecedent.
Q. What shall we state as the theory of your motion ?
P. There is no special theory; you have only the facts to judge by. Q. Whence do you derive your
P. From all the company. erally receive the impression of the strongest mind.
Q. Whose is the strongest mind among us?
P. Yours is the strongest mind awake; the other is sleeping.
At this point we turned, and discovered that the Hon. Clarke had fallen into a doze on the sofa; of which fact we, entirely absorbed in the questions and answers, were completely ignorant. The lady to whom the compliment had been addressed, continued the conversation, by asking,
Q. How was it possible that you should be equally clever before I came ?
To which Planchette promptly and rebukingly answered,
P. There were other strong minds, strong as yours, Sassiness
Q. Are you the same power as the medium in Carver-street? *
P. I scorn such an inquiry. One is the result of matter; the other, mind. Q. Is it the same power possessed
P. The Senator's, and Hon. Clarke's, by Mrs. who is not always asleep.
At this point Sassiness, overcome with the point and vigor of the repartees, and declaring that she had finally met with her ideal, said, solemnly,
"Planchette, I here offer you my heart and hand."
There being no response, some one said,
"Did you hear, Planchette?"
"Yea, I heard her," was the response. "And have you nothing to say?" There was another short pause; and then the pencil wrote rapidly,
"If the union were possible, I should accept; but we might find our minds incompatible. Besides, I am not so much devoted to you as I might be, Sassiness."
Of course this brought forth a burst of merriment from the company, the operators being as much astonished as any one at this unexpected turn to the serious conversation.
Then the Angel sat down to the board with the Flirt; and, having first reversed the machine, I asked Planchette to tell us which of its communications it preferred to have us publish in the article I was writing; to which it replied, at length,
"That touching little allusion to the devil and the preachers, also the pet names I have for my friends; such as, Deviless, Sassiness, Clarkey, and the rest. Also, you may throw in the poems, for they would please the public. I advise you not to throw in the description of characters. I could go on indefinitely, but this squeak" (referring to the noise of the pencil) "affects my head. But I will write more if you desire it." It then wrote,
This lady professes to be able to discern character from a letter, simply held in the hand. Both the Flirt and myself were ignorant of the facts alluded to in the two last questions; but it did not at all affect the clearness of Planchette's response.
P. Mrs. It is easy enough to state generalities, and make random applications.
is a deluded humbug.
Q. Is this the same power as clairvoyance ?
P. Yes, in some respects. Don't ever suppose, however, that this process trenches on the supernatural.
Q. Is it the same as mesmerism?
Q. Explain the difference between
P. There is no essential difference. Mesmerism is more an animal fluid; magnetism, more of an intellectual power.
Q. Is it the same as odic force?
Q. What is odic force?
P. You could not understand my explanation. Besides, I do not understand it myself well.
Q. Can any unexplained historical phenomena be accounted for by this principle?
P. No; it is a new development.
P. In magnetizing some minds, as you bave often heard. It also is of use in pulling people.
Q. Why is it more apparent at present than formerly?
P. The animal magnetism is strong
"I want SSSSS to ask, and Clarkey in some people, though it has never been to answer."
The required change having been made, the conversation was pursued, as follows:
thoroughly developed. A generation
*This is an ordinary professional medium, who tips tables in the dark.
from now this science will have attained a remarkable growth. It will have much to do then with the historic events of the world. Man, and all his actions, will be governed, more or less, by this wonderful magnetic power. It has been always latent; but all sciences are dependent on previous ones. This will be a natural outgrowth of various sciences. This follows electricity and astronomy.
sometimes in a prickling sensation in the fingers and arms, sometimes in headache, and again in general exhaustion. The effect passes off rapidly when the hands are removed from the machine. The negative temperament experiences no sensation when working with a corresponding positive agent; but if the positive quality in the other is not sufficiently powerful, or if he be likewise a negative, fatigue ensues in the strongest
Q. Have you any thing to do with negative magnet. I am always overthe magnetic pole?
P. Yes, I am dependent on it.
At this point we were called out, to look at the Aurora Borealis, which was irradiating the northern sky with lambent light. Some one suggested that the activity of Planchette might be accounted for by the electrical influences abroad; so that, on our return to the parlor, we interrogated it on this subject, asking whether it was affected by the Aurora.
P. Yes; it affects the minds of all here. The peculiar condition of the atmosphere engenders clearness and a connection of all intellectual power.
Q. Would you be affected by a magnet in the room?
P. A magnet would not affect the minds of men. It is only the condition of the atmosphere that affects the intellectual magnetism.
come with extreme drowsiness when working in this way, though I can continue the practice for hours, without sensation, when the balance of the two magnetisms is perfect.
It is much to be regretted that we have not had more opportunities for trying the effect of different combinations upon the machine; as, upon one occasion, curious results were produced by a stranger, who, after watching Planchette's evolutions for some time, placed his hands upon her with the Flirt. A remarkable perturbation at once took place. The instrument dashed violently backward and forward across the paper, and wrote, with impetuous vehemence, in letters of great size, "It is too strong; leave off, off, off!" and became completely uncontrollable, not only for the moment, but for three days after, though the gentleman de
Q. Has it any connection with the parted at once; refusing to write any demoniac possession ?
P. No; there is no connection whatever. Besides, I don't believe in the demoniacal theory.
Q. What do you think of it?
P. Nothing but insanity. It was an extraordinary case, made to influence the superstitious mind.
Q. What of the devils of Moozine? P. Only an extreme case of insanity. Q. Is insanity, then, contagious? P. Rarely. In this case, however, it was; for the minds of many people were predisposed for that condition.
At this point the séance broke up, the Flirt having become exhausted.
We have found, as a general thing, that the positive magnetic agent feels the physical effects of the operation
thing but nonsense, even with those for whom it had previously responded; and covering the paper with scrawls, and the words, "Hall, Hall, Hall," the name of the gentleman who had bewitched it. It tore holes in the paper with the point of the pencil, jumped up and down on one leg, and even ran off the table several times. It had, during this attack, which it called its "sickness," moments that it called its "lucid intervals," during which it explained that it must be left on the table, that the false magnetism might 66 run off through the legs."
At the end of three days it responded to our questions about its health, with the words, "Well, well, well!" and a huge exclamation-point at the