January 30, 1887: Mrs. M. B. Thayer

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January 30th, 1887.       

Yesterday I visited Mrs. M. B. Thayer, an Independent Slate Writing Medium, at 1601 North 15th Street, Philadelphia, in hopes of arranging for a seance at that time. I had a conversation of about half an hour with Mrs. Thayer, who asked what I had seen before, and with what Mediums I had sat; but I was not able to get a sitting at once, Mrs. Thayer declaring "the conditions" unsatisfactory. She made an appointment, however, for to-day at 4 P.M. In the hall I met, on my departure, Mrs. Kase, the hostess of the Medium, to whom I am personally known, and who told me in an 'aside' that she would not reveal my identity to the Medium. This might readily have been overheard by the Medium, who was standing close by. [I visited Mrs. Thayer alone, because she had expressed an unwillingness to appear before the Commission, and we found it necessary to visit her as private persons.]

Upon calling to-day, I was ushered into Mrs. Thayer's room, in which stood a small wooden table covered with a red cloth (which hung down, perhaps a foot, on all sides from the edges of the table), ready for the seance. Ten or twelve plain single slates lay in a pile on a piece of furniture near the table.

Mrs. Thayer handed me two of these slates, which I cleaned and examined. I then marked them on the inside, or what became, when I


laid them together, the inside, and held them while she tied them together with a piece of white tape. After they were tied they could be separated an eighth of an inch without difficulty. Holding the slates in my hand, I examined the table and the furniture near it, and then took my seat at the table, Mrs. Thayer sitting opposite me. The table was about 2½x1½ feet. At the suggestion of Mrs. Thayer, I placed the tied slates upon the table under the cloth, and we both placed our hands upon the cloth above them.

After waiting for some time for indications of writing, I withdrew the slates from under the cloth, and, as directed, held them with my right hand up against the under surface of the table, Mrs. Thayer placing her left hand upon my right as I held the slates. After holding them thus for some time I was told to withdraw them, and hold them against my forehead. Then I was told to open them and to scrape some pencil-dust over the inner surfaces. This I did, again closing the slates, which Mrs. Thayer tied as before. I was again directed to hold them up against the under surface of the table, and the Medium again placed her hand upon the hand with which I held them. Her hand was not wholly upon mine, but projected beyond it upon my wrist and towards my edge of the slates.

After my holding the slates in this position, seemingly without result, until I was very wearied, the Medium suggested my laying them upon my lap and covering them with the table cover, which hung down more on my side than on hers. She said it was necessary that the slates should be concealed. When they were in this position we joined hands upon the table, and she placed her feet upon mine under the table, thus making, as she said, a strong " battery." This seeming to be inefficacious, I was directed to wrap the slates in a cloth given me for the purpose (apparently a small table cover) and to lay them on the floor under the table, placing my left foot upon them. This I did, and the Medium placed one of her feet upon my left foot, taking my hands upon the table, and again forming the "battery."

After some waiting, much calling upon the Spirit of Foster to write (this she did at intervals during the seance) and several requests for raps (which did not come), the Medium decided that we should get nothing during the sitting, and it was discontinued. I took up the slates from the floor, took off the cloth and untied the tape; no mark had been made upon them.

There had been much conversation during the sitting, the Medium telling me not to keep my mind on the slates, but to put myself into a condition of "passivity." She declared me mediumistic, and said that she doubted whether she would ever be able to get results with me. She stated two or three times that she saw three forms behind me,


but dimly, and could not describe them. One was a " mild and gentle lady, with a beautiful hand." To the only person whom I can remember with a markedly beautiful hand, no one would have applied these adjectives. The sitting was about an hour long.

(Copied and arranged the same evening from notes made in the car on the way home from the seance.)


[I arranged for another seance with Mrs. Thayer, to be held some days later, but at the time appointed she refused to see me, giving as excuse indisposition.

G. S. F -- April, 1887]      

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