Automatic writing

Coming now to what may be termed ordinary Expectancy sittings, that is to say, evening sittings in a lighted or semi-lighted room, the conditions of visibility admit of more elaborate manifestations than are possible in darkness. Automatic writing in particular becomes practicable. Provision should be made for this by placing a pencil and one or more sheets of paper on a table or desk. And, of course, signalling apparatus should be furnished of either an audible or a visible kind. When these matters are attended to the proceedings at the sitting should follow the course described as suitable for the midnight seance; but, naturally, both eyes and ears should be active in the detection of signs indicating the presence of spirits. And every now and then the pencil should be taken in the hand and held close to the paper in a writing position, the result frequently being that a strong impulse to write is felt. This should not be resisted. The hand should be given free play; but, of course, there should not be any conscious guidance by the sitter. At first the script is, in the majority of instances, found to be a confused scribble or a meaningless sequence of words. Later on, if the sitter be patient and persevering, order begins to take the place of chaos and intelligible messages are obtained; always supposing that the enquirer is really gifted with an appreciable degree of psychic power.
Self-deception and the imaginations bred of wishes and emotions are to be guarded against. This is an additional reason for cultivating a tranquil habit of mind and a level-headed habit of judgment. It should be remembered that in solitary Expectancy fraud and trickery are completely absent, and that all manifestations are matters of the most simple personal observation, the accuracy of which can be confirmed — as in an ordinary scientific laboratory — by the test of repetition. For the friends and acquaintances of the sitter the only evidence available is the latter’s personal and uncorroborated (statements, which from a scientific point of view are worthless; but for the sitter himself or herself the very same evidence is in the highest degree conclusive, and rightly so. The facts are known to have occurred.

Sciens: How to speak with the dead. A practical handbook. New York 1918, S. 108ff.