January 15, 1885: Mrs. S. E. Patterson
(Slate-Writing Experiment)

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January 16th, 1885.       

The Commission met on Friday evening, January 16th, 1885, for the purpose of examining a second slate which had been sealed by Mr. Furness and left with Mrs. Patterson, and was now returned to the Commission.

The slate was screwed and sealed by Mr. Furness just before Christmas, and was in the hands of the Medium until January 12th.

[So importunate was the Acting Chairman in his entreaties to Mrs. Patterson to bring to bear on these slates all her Spiritual power, that at last he induced her to name a certain afternoon that should be devoted to the task. He went to her house on the day named, and sat


with her while she held the slates in her lap. To increase to the utmost all available Spiritual force, Mrs. Patterson's two daughters and her brother-in-law, Mr. Winner, were called in and shared the session. After sitting for nearly two hours, the little pencil had not made its appearance on the outside, but could still be heard rattling inside, and the obdurate Spirits were abandoned for the day. -- H.H.F.]

The slate was secured as follows:

The two leaves of the slate were fastened by four screws at 1, 2, 3 and 4; one side of the slate was already secured by the hinges 8, 8; the slate had then been wrapped by the tape 9, 9, as indicated, the knot being at 4; seals had then been set over the heads of the screws, upon the tape, at 1, 2, 3 and 4, and also over the ends of the screws, upon the tape, on the other side of the slate; a seal was also placed upon the ends of the tape at 5; and two seals at one corner, at the places indicated by 6 and 7. The corner marked by the arrow was protected only by the screws and seals at 3 and 4.

When the slate was shaken no sound of the rattling of the pencil was heard -- a pencil-scrap having been enclosed as usual in the slate when it was sealed. The Medium had declared that the pencil was gone, but said she did not know whether there was writing on the slate or not.

The seals were first examined and declared intact.

Then Dr. Leidy pushed a thin knife-blade between the slates at the unprotected corner, marked by the arrow on the sketch.

Then Mr. Sellers pushed in a thick knife-blade a little to one side of


Dr. Leidy's. (The exact place is marked on the rim of the slate itself.) Both the blades were thrust straight in -- Dr. Leidy's exactly at the corner, and Mr. Sellers' at the point marked, and neither of them was worked about between the slates.

The slates were thus separated by the thick knife-blade about one-tenth of an inch.

The seals were not broken by this.

While the slates were thus separated, it was noticed that the wood was discolored and rubbed glossy on the sides of the crack.

Mr. Sellers then removed the tape, seals and screws.

The slate being opened, no pencil was found and no pencil-marks appeared on the slate.

The rims were worn smooth and blackened at the corner where the slates could be separated; this was very distinct.

Some soap-stone dust, which Dr. Koenig identified under a microscope as the same with a remaining fragment of the pencil inserted (which Mr. Furness had preserved), was found rubbed into the same corner, showing that the slates had been separated and the piece of pencil worked out. Mr. Furness then produced three slates of the same sort (with hinges, and about 8 in. by 6.) to be used in the presence of Dr. Slade.

They were screwed up with a bit of pencil inside, in the presence of the Commission. Each was marked on the inside by Mr. Sellers, with a scratch from a diamond. To Mr. Furness was delegated the work of sealing them. [As Dr. Slade, however, refused to use any of our sealed slates, our labor was wasted.]


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