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Dead medium: The Spirit Racket
From: (Bill Wallace)

Dead Media Halloween Special:

Dead media for the spirit medium mediating the dead!

Source(s): "An Exposure of Mediums' Tricks and Rackets," by C. Samuel Campbell. LITTLE BLUE BOOK NO. 1746. (Edited

by E. Haldeman-Julius)

Slate Writing

"Slates, prepared and unprepared, have played an important

part in the spiritualistic racket. An unprepared slate

against the under surface of a table by the medium's

fingers, his thumb resting on the top of the table. Yet

the slate will be handed to you in a few moments with

scrawled writing on it. The medium uses a thimble

arrangement with a piece of slate pencil attached to write

the message with one of his fingers."

"Again, a slate and a piece of chalk may be placed on the

floor under the table. Although the subject may hold the

medium's hands across the top of the table and place his

feet on the medium's feet under the table, writing

appears. The medium has simply slipped his foot out of the

loose-fitting shoe which has a steel toe -- leaving the

subject with the impression that he still has the foot

under control -- and written the message with his toes,

the front of his sock being cut out to permit their free


"A false, paper-thin flap of silicate has been used to

cover writing on a slate. Held under the table, the flap

is slipped onto a shelf and the slate produced with the

message written on it."

The Reaching Rod

"An indispensible tool of the medium is the reaching rod.

It is used to pick up spirit trumpets and tambourines, to

float ghosts about the room and to aid in the production

of countless other phenomena. Constructed on the fishing-

rod telescope principle, it can be folded into the size

and form of a thick fountain pen. Extended, it may reach

as far as ten feet. The end is generally equipped with a

small hook or pincers device to be used in picking up


Spirit Music

"To cause spirit music, one medium used an old style Swiss

music box fastened under the table."

"Still other methods of getting music from the air are the

concealed musician method and the radio phonograph


Trumpet Seances

"When the mediums learn that spirits could be made to

whisper through trumpets or megaphones instead of dumbly

rapping out "yes" and "no" on a table or wall panel,

psychic communication took a vast step forward."

"Sometimes a small trumpet not over eight inches in length

stands in the middle of the table. A circle is formed

about the table, with hands clasped and the medium's feet

under control. When the lights go out, spirits speak

through the trumpet. The medium has merely leaned forward

and picked it up with his teeth by the suitably

constructed mouthpiece, whispering his messages through


"At times a length of garden hose is put into the trumpet,

by which it can then be elevated; and the medium, talking

through the hose, produces whispers at a greater


"Sometimes a medium dares to give a light seance, though

this is not often as it is too risky. In such cases the

principle of radio is used, coils being secreted under

rugs and elsewhere."

Spirit Photographs

"Double exposure is the method mostly used, the spirit

being previously photographed against a black background

of velvet or some similar material that will not reflect

light. Instead of a complete double exposure however,

some are made by exposing one-half of the plate for the

spirit and the other half for the sitter. A trick slide

is used with such a method."

"Figures are sometimes painted with sulphate of quinine on

the back screen. While such figures are not visible to

the eye, they appear on the photograph directly behind the


"A medium may lay the plates you bring on an innocent-

looking table top and print the spirit on them before

placing them in the camera. A ghost face is painted in

lead on the undersurface of the tabletop, and it is

printed on the plate by X-rays. Often the plates thus

treated are not even exposed, the face appearing merely

through the medium's having prayed over them."

"Another method . . . is one in which the medium palms a

much reduced copy of the photograph of the spirit. This

picture, painted with luminous paint, is transfered to the

plate by the medium simply bringing the two into contact

for a moment."

" . . . a special flashlight with the message written on

the lens may be pressed secretly against the plate at an

opportune moment, thus giving the appearance of a

photographed spirit message."

"Spirit Readings.

One of the tricks of the medium is to answer sealed


(Several paragraphs describe methods for reading answers

using sleight-of-hand.)

"The same principle is employed when the subject places

the card upon which he has written his question between

the leaves of a Bible. The center of the back and most of

the pages have been cut out, permitting the medium to read

the question as he did through the opening in the card in

the above trick.

But this trick becomes more effective when performed in

the following manner. The question is written on a piece

of paper and slipped into an envelope. The Bible,

hollowed out as above, has two batteries and two three-

volt lamps in it, and a piece of glass cemented into the

opening in the back binding. Under the pretext of writing

a birth date or a name on it, the medium places the

envelope on the Bible, which he has been reading, for more

solid support. Having actually placed it on the glass

window, he switches on the lamps and reads the question

through the envelope."

Bill Wallace (

and William Wallace (noted trick-or-treater)