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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The spooky, the mysterious...the bizarre! » » Turning table (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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The Curator
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Catch of the day: a French spiritualist turning table (circa 1865/1870) used to invoke spirits according to the theory of Allan Kardec. This may be a unique occasion to see one.
The table isn't gimmicked and really turns on his axis.

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SpellbinderEntertainment
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Oh Christian, it's lovely,
I sooooooo want one of these,
to whom do I sell my soul next?

(what height is it in inches?)
Magically,
Walt
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RicHeka
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Very nice!...and very interesting.
The Curator
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It's extremely rare, far more than a ouija board. And it's also the first time I can see a real antique one.
The Curator
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The table is 80 cm = 31.5 inches high.
StPaulMagician222
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Wow! What a Catch indeed!

Doing a search on Allan Kardeck yields such an amazing amount of material regarding the early spiritualism movement. I had never heard of this man and discovered that he was the systematizer of Spiritism for which he laid the foundation with the five books of the Spiritist Codification. The Spirit Book, The Mediums Book, The Gospel According to Spirits, Heaven and Hell and The Genesis According to Spirits. All of them are a rather long treatise 300-400+ pages in each volume and are all available online for download in PDF format all containing fascinating theory of the early Spiritualist phenomena. Anyone involved in presenting Spirit Theatre would do themselves a favor by absorbing information presented in these sources. This was an amazing sidetrack to my day which kept me going until late in the evening moving from one link to the next provoking thought, skepticism, humor and idea's for new ways to present Seance to our audiences and provides a much deeper look beyond the Fox Sister's and their little house in Hydesville, NY

Curator, How was this table used in theory to invoke the spirits. Was it the job of the spirits to spin the table top as an alternative to table tipping or was the table spun by the participants physically and the spirit used the patterns on the table top to take form and shape. I see how the pattern creates two triangles, a hexagram or triangle of invocation and if spun quickly or consistently would create a solid circle in the center. Or was it orgone type energy, ectoplasm or would incense in a thurible be placed in the center from which the spirit would take form while the table was spun? This fascinates me. Keep stimulating our imaginations.

k
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"I dare say" said the Queen, "Why when I was your age I believed more than 6 impossible things before breakfast.
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handa
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Originally operated by Suzanne Paresseuse.

Many a Spiritualist pantry would become a secret location when the device needed to be hidden from the prying eyes of potential persecutors.
The Curator
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Three people sit around the table, 3 seems to be the minimum of sitters for table turning. First they pray. Then they put their fingers on the table and ask the spirits a question. The table turns clockwise, the answer is "Yes", counterclockwise means "No". The table is also a rapping table and I suppose that the table twists first to indicate the group of letters (A to I, J to S, T to Z), then raps 1 to 9 times to indicate the letter in the serie. The top of the table foot axis must be closerly examined, as I suppose it may emit rappings.
As the table moves, nothing (except the fingers) should be placed on it.
Necromancer
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Exquisite. Congratulations!
Creator of The Xpert (20 PAGES of reviews!) and the Hands-Off Multiple ESP System ("Quality and design far exceed any ESP cards on the market"-Genii), both at Penguin.
Vic Nadata
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What a find!! Amazing. I want one..
Papa David
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Knock Knock.
Rick Roth, Karl Feret and Tim Wisseman...you guys listening?

I hear some rapping.
The Curator
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I've a feeling that this table was used by a "fraudulent medium". Underneath the table there's a deep scratch as if hooks were used to move it. And there's a secret hole hidden in the center of the table, under the foot, to hide something small like an insect or a jumping bean. Raps must come from somewhere...
The Curator
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Now the question. (I'm doing mu usual homework)
Spirit rappings start with the Fox sisters in 1848, we all know that.
But when came out for the first time the idea to use a "spirit table" ?
I've the original 1854 edition of the French magazine "les tables parlantes", they mention the use of tables in America but have no information about the origin of the use.
So, it must be between 1848 and 1853.
Anyone can help me ?
The Curator
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The best information 'till now: http://www.answers.com/topic/table-turning-1
Two French books from 1854.

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Necromancer
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Hi Christian,

You might want to look into this book:
Allan Kardec (Léon-Dénizarth-Hippolyte Rivail), Le Livre des Mediums (Paris, 1861)

The author relates how a medium, Madame Emile be Girardin, "obtained numerous and interesting communications. The instrument alluded to, consists of a little table with a movable top, eighteen inches in diameter, turning freely on an axle, like a wheel. On its edge are traced, as upon a dial-plate, the letters of the alphabet, the numerals, and the words "yes" and "no." In the centre is a fixed needle. The medium places his fingers on this table, which turns and stops when the desired letter is brought under the needle. The letters thus indicated being written down one after the other words and phrases are obtained, often with great rapidity. It is to be remarked that the top of the little table does not turn round under the fingers, but that the fingers remain in their place and follow the movement of the table."

The above extract appears in this fascinating article:
http://www.museumoftalkingboards.com/dials.html

The 1911 Encyclopaedia Brittanica also has an interesting digest about this. The sources it cites are:
A. E. de Gasparin, Des Tables tournantes, du Surnaturel, &c. (Paris, 1854);
Thury, Des Tables tournantes (Geneva, 1855)

A copy of the digest can be found here:
http://www.1911encyclopedia.org/Table-turning

Best,
Neil
Creator of The Xpert (20 PAGES of reviews!) and the Hands-Off Multiple ESP System ("Quality and design far exceed any ESP cards on the market"-Genii), both at Penguin.
The Curator
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Thanks Neil. I've an early edition of Kardec's books of spirits and mediums.
MentalistCreationLab
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Hudson Tuttle (1836-1910)from Ohio, wrote several works on spiritualism in the 1860's. I have searched but have not found any of his work. He ran the Hudson Publishing company and produced a dial planchette. That is the round disk type the spins like a carnival wheel. In my research the is a mention of a table circa 1850-1860 that sound similar to what your looking for. If any one has a copy of his work please contact me.
Thanks
the table is an excellent find.
Bill Montana
The Curator
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Thanks. It seems more and more logic that table tilting/turning appears in the USA in 1850 and was shown for the first time in Europe in 1852.

Quote:
Table-turning and rapping spread like an epidemic throughout America and was brought to England by such professional mediums as Maria B. Hayden, who came to London with a lecturer on electro-biology in 1852.
MentalistCreationLab
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Update just found copies of his work at Google Books do a search for Hudson Tuttle. Most of the works were the printed in the 1900's. I am reading one now, its on spiritualism from a guy who was there. Not the Houdini junk. Written by a believer.

This will give us endless story lines for years to come.

Woot
The Curator
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The table has been rigged at the time.
Under the tabletop there're marks of the use of a hook (hidden probably in the sleeve) to "help" turning the table.
There's also a secret hole probably made to hide a small insect for the "raps". (known method described in the book of mediums by Allan Kardec)

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