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Communicating with the Dead (Original)

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Author Topic: Communicating with the Dead (Original)  (Read 4223 times)
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« Reply #165 on: January 19, 2008, 03:03:59 pm »

Sandra Taylor

Member # 2492

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   posted 07-17-2005 10:27 PM                       
Medium or the Rue Christine

In the summer of 1936 I happened to break my journey at Ostend on the way home from Germany. I was strolling down the Rue Christine one hot evening when I noticed outside a shop a board which informed me, in English, French and Flemish, that a medium was 'operating' there nightly. Admission, 25 francs. I looked at my watch and found the show was due to begin in twenty minutes, at eight o'clock precisely. I clambered up the short flight of wooden stairs leading to the first-floor room over the shop, where the sťance was due to be held. A warm welcome from a blowsy-looking female greeted each sitter, who was asked for his fee, even before he seated himself, The sťance room was a small one and the medium - of the typical Belgian mechanic class - was seated with his back to the only window, over which, just before the sťance began, curtains were drawn, excluding all light. The sitters sat round him in a semicircle. In front of the medium was a table supporting a tambourine, a toy trumpet, and a small accordion. The sitters - most of them of the usual rather unintelligent sort who frequent sťances - were asked to search the medium and lash him to his chair. Two men volunteered. They turned out the man's pockets very thoroughly, and made a good job of roping the Belgian. Then the light was switched off and we were left in complete darkness.

The sťance had hardly begun when the female I have mentioned complained of the heat in the room, and leaving her place in the circle, went over in the dark to the window, which she opened a few inches at the bottom, again closing the curtains.

Then the entertainment began: the tambourine was flung across the room; the trumpet was blown and an air was played on the accordion - to the excited plaudits of the sitters. Then the man's 'spirit control,' whose name I forget (it was, of course, one of the over-worked Red Indian 'guides') spoke in broken English-obviously for the benefit of the Britishers who were present. Then a small luminous cross was seen floating near where we knew the medium was sitting, and the performance finished with a shower of sparkling 'spirit lights', which spluttered hither and thither from somewhere behind the medium, who, it was seen, was now almost entirely free from his bonds. The room lights were then switched on and, the sťance having ended, the sitters departed.

But I stayed on for a few minutes. Most of the performance was rather silly, and a poor imitation of the Davenport Brothers' feats. But the lights intrigued me, especially the luminous cross. I wondered how he obtained them, as he was really well searched. The woman had now drawn back the curtains and flung the window wide open. Then the whole thing was apparent. Outside the window was a long box containing plants. On the top of the soil was a heap of large beach pebbles to weight the box in order to prevent the wind from blowing it over. I walked to the window and soon found what I anticipated - a large pebble covered with fulminating paste, which was hardly distinguishable from its fellows. This pebble, rubbed against a hard object, produced a percussive flash, such as we had seen. The next day I saw children playing on the Digue with something similar.

The medium and his wife watched me with some interest, if not alarm. Would I demand my money back, or inform the police? I did neither, but had an interesting chat with them instead, explaining who I was. They admitted that the whole show was, well, just a show, and said that if they were to run a boarding-house, they would be fleecing the visitors just the same. As I anticipated, when the woman opened the window just after the sťance began, she picked the fulminating pebble, and another, from off the windowbox and passed them to her husband. The luminous cross, I learned, was painted on the sole of the man's right foot, which he just waved round and round in the dark. The conversation was becoming most interesting, with an interchange of professional secrets, when we discovered it was nearly nine o'clock, the time advertised for the next sťance. As I wended my way to the Kursaal to watch the gambling, an urchin thrust a bill in my hand. It read: Votre main parle ... la revelation de votre destinee. Chaque ligne de votre main marque un fait important dans votre vie... Prix 25 francs. But I had had enough of 'psychics' for one night, and I knew that the only 'palms' the Ostend mediums were really interested in were those containing good Belgian francs.
Posts: 172 | Registered: May 2005 
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"That which does not kill us, makes us stronger."
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