From the book Written Communications from the Spirit World by William H. Burr, 1918.
In this example of physical mediumship, the medium transmits vibrations from the spirit realm like a telephone, allowing a very small piece of graphite to move freely between two slates bound together with string. The medium holds one side of the bundle, and the sitter holds the other. They wait as long as is necessary. The sounds of writing and vibrations of the slates may be very clearly heard and felt. The sitter supplies slates that have been thoroughly washed and dried beforehand so that no marks were upon them and there is no possibility for fraudulence. It was reported that the best results were obtained in very bright sunlight. Results vary, of course. The author of this book received replications of signatures of deceased persons along with a personal notes in the same handwriting. He offered numerous photographs of handwritten letters with extensive examples of evidence for the personal identity of the author of the slate written notes.
Excerpt from the introduction of the book mentioned at the top of this article:
“Why is necessary to be in the presence of a medium to obtain these results? Why cannot these results be obtained in the presence of one as well as another? . . . If you desire to hear the enchanting strains of Mozart’s music, you would not enter the presence of a plumber and request him to pound a tin can. If you wish expert and special instruction concerning any question, you seek the advice of those whose mind and body is trained or qualified to render it. For the same reason you cannot receive a telephone communication through any hollow stick, simply because it resembles a telephone receiver.
“Musicians, artists, poets, mediums and all others with special qualifications are born with latent mental, physical or spiritual powers. A law of nature places us all within a certain sphere thereof and upon a certain plane. The medium is one who by nature’s law is capable of hearing, through special gifts, sound vibrations not audible to the physical ear, and of seeing through spiritual gift, things not seen by the physical eye. Mediums are the transmitters between the physical and the spirit world. They are endowed with gifts not possessed by most. (more under plate 14)”
Of course there were fake imitations, of which numerous accounts are explained online. I find this little contraption, the Syco-Seer, interesting as it appears to have evolved into the Magic 8 Ball that we all know and love today. Hey, Adrienne, I found a Magic 8 Ball collectible you may not own... ;)
I would find it interesting to read Ron Nagy’s book Slate Writing Invisible Intelligence for more recent information on slate writing. Ron Nagy's blog