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Communicating with the Dead (Original)

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Author Topic: Communicating with the Dead (Original)  (Read 2672 times)
Trent
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« Reply #165 on: January 19, 2008, 03:05:25 pm »

Sandra Taylor

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   posted 07-17-2005 10:31 PM                       
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'Gambols with the Ghosts' [top]

In order to produce their 'psychic' tricks, the less clever fakers have to rely on those persons who sell apparatus and 'secrets' to professional mediums. The existence of these mediums' supply houses is denied by those in the business, and I believe it is a fact that very few mediums in this country (where physical phenomena are rare) know of such places. But they do exist, and their proprietors loan out catalogues to those mediums in want of some new spiritualistic effect. Again, it is strenuously denied that such catalogues exist, or have existed.

Well, these catalogues do exist, but only just! They are issued on loan to only a chosen few, and they are so excessively rare that during a lifetime's search for a specimen, it was only during the production of this work that I came into possession of a copy, the only one in Great Britain. This was in the records of Mr. William Marriott, the well-known illusionist and veteran arch-debunker of 'spirit' fakes, who kindly presented it to me. I know of only one copy in America, in the collection of John Mulholland, who quotes extracts in his Beware Familiar Spirits(73).

(73) New York and London, 1938.

And now having at last obtained a copy of this almost unprocurable brochure, the least I can do is to tell my readers something about it. The title is: Gambols with the Ghosts. Mind Reading, Spiritualistic Effects, Mental and Psychical Phenomena and Horoscopy. It was issued in 1901 by Ralph E. Sylvestre & Co., of 25, Ashland Boulevard, Chicago, a firm 'Established in 1870.' On a label attached to the titlepage is printed: 'Return to Geo. L. Williams & Co., Sole Agents, Syracuse, Indiana.' Apparently Williams issued these catalogues for private circulation among mediums, who had to return to him the list when goods had been selected. The miracles for sale in the copy I possess are catalogued 101-70. The 'effects' (but not the secrets!) are well illustrated by clever drawings, and the catalogue runs to forty pages.

In an introductory note 'To our Friends and Patrons,' Mr. Sylvestre writes: 'Our experience during the past thirty years in supplying mediums and others with the peculiar effects in this line enable us to place before you only those which are practical and of use, nothing that you have to experiment with. All of our effects are equally suitable for ladies or gentlemen except where mentioned. We wish you to thoroughly appreciate that, while we do not, for obvious reasons, mention the names of our clients and their work (they being kept in strict confidence, the same as a physician treats his patients), we can furnish you with the explanation and, where necessary, the materials for the production of any known public "tests" or "phenomena" not mentioned in this, our latest list. You are aware that our effects are being used by nearly all prominent mediums ... of the entire world(74), and you can, therefore, be assured of receiving fraternal and honest treatment in all transactions... There are, as you are aware, sporadic attempts at exposure of mediums, and of slurs in the press at the same and at ourselves. We do not countenance or support the former and utterly ignore the latter. In our mental feats are found much to ponder over, and prove the truth of the immortal Goethe's history of the friendly philosophers in his wonderful work on Electoral Affinities, while in our mechanical appliances the work is absolutely faultless.'

(74) My italics.

http://www.survivalafterdeath.org/articles/price/spiritualism.htm
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