Hot off the Project Gutenberg presses: A Book Written by the Spirits of the So-Called Dead by C.G. Helleberg.
A small stand of the ordinary kind in construction, covered by a table cloth, was used, the medium placing with one hand under the covering of the stand a slate on which was placed a small piece of pencil. The other hand of the medium was continually exposed to full view, as was also her entire form. Both double and single slates were used. We heard the writing as it progressed, and when the slate was filled it would be indicated by distinct taps on the slate and the dropping of the pencil. The slate would be then taken out, and as the chosen scribe I would faithfully transcribe the written matter into the book aforementioned, and the slate would then be cleaned and returned under the stand, and in this manner all the matter hereinafter set forth was produced.
Published in 1883, this book fell about halfway through the Spiritualist craze (reported by wikipedia to be from the 1840′s to the 1920′s).
Find out about the inhabitants of other planets, a dead medium whose spirit arranges her own funeral, and even communications from both George Washington and Abraham Lincoln! All from a handful of crazy old ladies. And, lest I forget, the compelling story of a spirit who peels and eats part of a banana, then splits the remainder into four equal parts!
As fun as reading some of this is bound to be, it’s interesting to think that there are those who believed then, and believe now, that such antics are legitimate. Spiritualist churches are still in existence, though…
…The practice of organized Spiritualism today resembles that of any other religion, having discarded most showmanship, particularly those elements resembling the conjurer’s art. There is thus a much greater emphasis on “mental” mediumship and an almost complete avoidance of the apparently miraculous “materializing” mediumship that so fascinated early believers such as Arthur Conan Doyle…
To each their own, as always.