The Methods Of A Doctor Of The Occult
Not so very long ago I met a friend--a man of wealth, who was a
firm believer in spiritualism, and who frequently conversed with
his dead wife and daughter. I asked him if he could inform me
whether or not there were any good mediums in the city, as I should
like to consult one.
He replied that at present there were none in Omaha of any well-
developed psychic powers; that he was entirely satisfied on th
subject and did not require any demonstrations to convince himself
of the truths of spiritual science. He informed me that the
question was settled beyond all dispute; but that if I were
skeptical, there was said to be a medium in Council Bluffs who
possessed most wonderful powers.
I accordingly made other inquiries from those who were in a
position to know; and I learned that this medium, a celebrated
"Doctor of the Occult, Astrologer, Palmist and Spirit Medium," was
at that time giving private sittings in Council Bluffs to earnest
inquirers only, for the small sum of two dollars.
I was informed that his performances were of the most wonderful
nature; that there was no possibility of trickery of any kind; that
he told you whatever you desired to know, without your even asking
him; that, in addition to this, he had powers over the elements of
nature; and, in fact, I was led to believe that he was a true
sorcerer of the olden days.
I determined at once to call on this renowned personage, and try to
secure a little information from the unseen world. Accordingly,
one Sunday afternoon I took the car that crossed the river, and in
due time arrived at the apartments of this wonderful doctor.
I was met at the door by an attendant, who accepted the fee and
directed me to enter the rooms of this mysterious person quietly;
and if I found him employed, by no means to disturb him, but merely
to await his pleasure; that he was frequently conversing with
unseen beings, or deep in some astrological computation, and at
such times it was not safe to disturb him.
With a beating heart I entered the room where he was to be found.
This room was a large one. I did not see him at first. What
attracted my attention was a large map or painting on a piece of
canvas which hung on a wall space in the room. This painting had a
representation of the sun in its center. This could be discovered
by the rays which radiated from it in all directions. Around this
sun were many stars, and an occasional planet, among which Saturn
and its rings were very prominently depicted. There were numerous
pictures of animals and men, and of queer monsters, scattered among
Beneath this picture stood a large golden oak table at which sat
this delver into the occult, deeply engrossed in a study of this
painting; while with a little brush he figured and calculated, in a
queer sort of Chinese characters, which he drew on a sheet of
paper. He also seemed to be making a strange drawing on the same
paper. He was far too deeply engaged to notice my entrance, and
continued at his labors for some time, while I stood quietly and
watched him. Sitting on one end of this rather large table was a
glass globe or vessel, supported by three nickeled rods, something
like a tripod. Coming from the wall was a rather large nickeled
tube or pipe which curved over above the glass vessel, and
continually allowed drops of water to fall into the globe. From
the side of this glass vessel there led a small nickeled pipe which
evidently carried away the waste water.
Occasionally a little blue flame would appear on the surface of
this water, play about, and disappear. When this happened the body
of the medium was always convulsed slightly.
After a time he seemed to finish his calculation, and this seer
condescended to leave the realms of the stars wherein dwelt the
spirits that rule the universe and the destinies of men, and to
descend to earth and for a time direct his gaze toward this humble
mortal. He turned around and observed me for the first time. He
was a large, portly, fine-looking gentleman of middle age, with
very long black hair which gave him a strange appearance. He wore
a pair of glasses low down on his nose; and from over these he
condescended to direct his gaze at, and to study me for a moment as
a naturalist might study some specimen that happened temporarily to
attract his notice.
He soon informed me that the stars had told him something of my
coming and of the question that was worrying me; and he asked me if
I desired to consult the stars as to my destiny, to have him
decipher it from the lines of my palm, or whether I should prefer
to converse with the dead. The last was my choice.
Not far from a window at one side of the room there was a small
table on which were a few articles. He directed me to be seated at
this table, and handed me a slip of paper of a size of probably
four by five inches. He directed me to write the question I
desired answered on this paper, and when through to fold the paper
in halves three times with the writing inside. I did so while he
walked to his bowl of water apparently paying no attention to me,
and then returned.
When he had returned to a position opposite me at the table, he
reached to take my writing out of my hand; seeing which I quickly
bent down one corner of the paper and gave it to him. He directed
one sharp glance at me as I did this, at the same time picking up
an envelope from the table with his other hand. He held this
envelope open flap side toward me, and slowly inserted my paper
into it. As he did this, looking sharply at me, he remarked, "I am
no sleight-of-hand performer. You see your question is actually in
the envelope." This was the case; for it was close to me and I
could plainly see the top of it against the back of the envelope,
the lower portions being inserted; and I could see the little
corner folded down, as I had bent it, and I was certain he had not
exchanged it. In fact he took occasion to use his hands in such
manner that I could see there was nothing concealed about them,
that he "palmed" nothing, and that he made no exchange. I was
entirely satisfied that all was fair, and that no exchange had been
Next, he sealed the envelope, and holding it toward the window,
called my attention to the fact that as the envelope was partly
transparent I could see my paper within it and that it was actually
there. This was really the case. He now took a match, and
lighting it applied the flame to this identical envelope without
its leaving my sight; and proceeded to burn the last vestige of it
and the paper within it, allowing the ashes to drop into a small
vessel on the table.
There was no doubt that he did not exchange envelopes and that he
burned it before my very eyes. He now took the ashes and emptied
them into the bowl of water on the side table. A little blue flame
appeared on the surface of the water after that for a moment, and
He now brought from a drawer a number of slates--about eight or ten
small slates with padded edges. They were the smallest size of
slates, I should judge; and with them he brought another slate, a
trifle larger, probably two inches both longer and wider. He
requested me to examine thoroughly or to clean them all to my own
satisfaction, and to stack the small ones on the table, one on top
of the other; and when all were thus placed, to place the large
slate on top of the stack.
While I was doing this he called to his attendant for a drink of
water, and incidentally stepped into the hall to receive it, so
that his menial would not profane this sanctuary with his presence.
Returning to the table he took a seat opposite me and placed one of
my hands and one of his on top of the slates. In due time he took
up the slates and we found nothing. He replaced them, and waited
for a few moments; then seeming dissatisfied with conditions, he
took up the top slate in his left hand and with his right hand
began writing a message for me. He did this like mediums do
automatic writing, with eyes half closed; and while writing his
person was convulsed a few times. He then opened his eyes and read
aloud what he had written, asking me if it answered my question. I
replied that it did not, as it was entirely foreign to the subject.
Then seeming dissatisfied, he moistened his fingers, erased the
writing, and replaced the top slate on the stack of slates.
He now placed his hands on this slate again, and after a time
examined it; but it was still free from writing. He lifted up some
of the other slates; but as there was no writing, he scattered the
slates around on the table and asked me to spread a large cloth
over them which he handed to me. This I did, and under his
direction placed my arms and hands over this. He walked to the
bowl of water on the side table, and gazed into it. I watched him;
and I saw a rather large flame appear on the surface of the water,
dance about, and disappear.
He immediately informed me that he was certain that I now had a
message. He remained at a distance while I examined the slates one
by one. Finally, on one of them I found a message, neatly written
and covering the entire slate. It read:
"Mrs. Piper is a genuine medium. She possesses powers of a very
unusual nature. Her tests given Hyslop and others are genuine. Do
not be a skeptic. You are making a mistake, dear friend. It is
all plain to me now, and spirit is all there is.--WILL."
Now, the question I had written was addressed to a very dear friend
who is now dead, and read as follows:
"WILL J----: In regard to the medium, Mrs. Piper, of whom we
conversed on your last visit, I would ask if she be genuine, and if
the tests she gave Professor Hyslop and others were genuine. Give
me a test."
This was all nicely done, and I am sure would have greatly
impressed nearly everyone. Being a performer myself, I could of
course follow the performance in minute detail, and I am thus
enabled to give to the readers of this paper a detailed account of
the method used by the doctor. I will state that since that time I
have very successfully operated this same test, minus the bowl of
water and flame of fire; and that I can assure all that it is very
practicable and that it is very deceptive.