We deemed ourselves fortunate at the outset in having as a counselor the late Mr. Thos. R. Hazard, a personal friend of Mr. Seybert, and widely known throughout the land as an uncompromising Spiritualist.
By the advice of Mr. Hazard we addressed ourselves first to the investigation of Independent Slate Writing, and through his aid a seance for this purpose was arranged with a noted Medium, Mrs. S. E. Patterson.
This mode of manifesting Spiritualistic power, as far as it has come under our observation, is, concisely stated, the writing on the concealed surface of a slate which is in contact with a Medium. In the present instance, between two slates fastened together by a hinge on one side and a screw on the other, there was placed a small fragment of slate pencil; when this fragment is bitten off by the Medium, it receives, so Mr. Hazard assured us, additional Spiritualistic power. As soon as a Spirit has finished writing its communication with the pencil on the inner surface of the slates, the completion of the task is made known by the appearance of the slate pencil on the outside, upon the slates. The slates are always held in concealment under the table, and never has this remarkable passage of the pencil through the solid substance of the slate been witnessed by any one, not even by the Medium herself, in all the years during which this wonderful phenomenon has been a matter of daily, almost hourly, experience.
Our first seance was held in the evening at the Medium's own home. The slates were screwed together with the bit of slate pencil enclosed, and held by the Medium between her open palms, in her lap, under the table. After waiting an hour and a half without the least response on the slates from the Spirits, the attempt was abandoned for that evening much to the disappointment, not only of us all, but to the chagrin of Mr. Hazard, who could not understand 'what the deuce was in it, seeing that the Medium was one of the very best in the world, and
on the preceding evening, when he was all alone with her, the messages from the spirit of Henry Seybert came thick and fast.'
No better success attended our second seance with this Medium, although we waited patiently an hour and twenty minutes, while the slates were in the Medium's lap.
By the advice of the Medium, in order to eliminate any possible antagonism, we divided our numbers, and only one or two of us at a time sat with her. On one occasion writing did appear on the slates, after the slates had been held by both hands of the Medium for a long time in concealment under the table, but to neither of the two sitters did the screw appear to be by any means as tightly fastened after the writing as before; nor did the writing of two or three illegible words seem beyond the resources of very humble legerdemain; in fact, no legerdemain was needed, after a surreptitious loosening of the screw which, considering the state of the frame of the slate, could have been readily effected.
From some cause or other the atmosphere of Philadelphia is not favorable to this mode of Spiritual manifestation. With the exception of the Medium just alluded to, not a single Professional Independent Slate Writing Medium was known to us at that time in this city, nor is there one resident here even at this present writing, as far as we know.