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How Spirits Materialize
by [?]

From “The Revelations of a Spirit Medium”–a book out of existence now, since the plates and all copies were bought up by “spiritualists” and destroyed. The following is given by courtesy of Mr. Hereward Carrington:

Reader, have you ever attended a “seance” for “full-form materialization?” Have you ever thought you had met your dead relative’s spirit at these “seances”?

If you have never had the pleasure of attending a seance of this “phase” you have missed a rare treat. The writer has assisted at many a one and will relate to you some of the wonderful phenomena occurring at them and the means used to produce them. . . . There are hundreds of “materializing mediums” doing business in this country, who are swelling a good-sized bank account. Their business sometimes runs into the hundreds of dollars in a single week. This “phase” of mediumship is considered by the spiritual- ists as the highest possible attainable, and if you are a clever “full-form medium” your financial welfare is assured. . . . Many and various are the methods employed by the different “mediums” in producing this phase. It is in Boston, New York, and San Francisco that it is worked the finest. The full-form seances most often met with are very simply worked, and easy of performance by the medium. You are usually given a seat in a circle of chairs about the front of a “cabinet” made by hanging heavy curtains across the corner of the room. If you are a stranger or one who looks or acts as though he would “grab” the “spirits,” you are seated at the farthest point from the cabinet; or, if there are two rows of seats, you will be given a seat in the back row. . . .

I made my way to the “materializing seance,” at which my friends hoped to materialize. I was admitted to the seance room and found about twenty persons already assembled. I was seated in the front row of chairs. The cabinet used was a closet about six feet long and four feet wide. The ceiling of both the room and the cabinet was of wood. After a thorough examination had been made of the cabinet by all those who cared to do so, the sitters were rearranged to suit the medium. There were present now thirty-five persons. The seance room was very large. The door had been taken off the closet that served as a cabinet, and in its stead were hung heavy curtains. The floor of the room was carpeted with a dark carpet, as was the cabinet. The light was furnished by a lamp placed in a box that was fastened to the wall some eight feet from the floor. This box had a sliding lid in front, controlled by a cord passing into the cabinet. By this means the “spirits” could regulate the light to suit themselves, without any movement on the part of any of those in the seance room being necessary. When everything was in readiness the medium entered the cabinet, seated himself and was tied, and so secured to his chair that it was impossible that he could have any use of himself. He was most thoroughly secured to his chair, and his chair nailed fast to the floor by passing leather straps over the rounds in the side and nailing the ends to the floor. After it was shown to the sitters that he was utterly helpless, the curtain was drawn. The manager now placed an ordinary kitchen table in front of the door of the cabinet, so that it stood away from it about two feet. The table contained no drawer. On the table was laid writing materials, a guitar, and small bell. The manager seated himself close to one side of the cabinet entrance, and started a large Swiss music box. Before it had finished the first air the lamp was shut entirely off, making the room inky dark.