Tag Archives: Culture

Antique How To Book: “Spirit Intercourse” (1917)

Just in time for Halloween we have “Spirit Intercourse” by J. Hewat McKenzie from 1917. But actually it was by his wife (?) and he wrote it down and got it published. It is very difficult to find information on her and it seems he fraternized with a number of mediums during his career as a businessman in parapsychology. His book was immensely popular in the United States during and in the aftermath of World War I. He even published pamphlets about what would happen to the spirits of soldiers attempting to make their way home to loved ones.

Who was his wife? We may never know.

Before we go any further, I need to thank the book seller that helped me find and acquire this book. Remember to support your small book stores this year!

Allen was a pleasure to work with, and so helpful. I highly recommend Burkeyme Books for finding rare and unusual books like this one! They’re very talented at acquiring unique special interest items, especially in regards to primary and period literature. Be sure to check them out 🙂

Spirit Intercourse

I don’t mean anything lewd. What the title means is communicating with and documenting interactions with the dead: aka Mediumship.

In 1917 this book would have gained popularity as Spiritualism began to have a resurgence with the rise of The Great War In Europe. With primarily young men and husbands being sent overseas from the United States with many uncertain how to communicate with their loved ones to confirm their living status, spiritualism was an option to turn to, much like earlier versions had been for seamen for a millennia before. This helped this book gain popularity, especially during and after the 1918 Influenza.

The American Spiritualism movement is complicated. I argue that reactions to Southern Religious Spiritism movements, westward expansion, the introduction of new technologies, and the Civil War had a major role to play with its rise in inland America during the 19th century, but that’s just me and an argument for another time. The main thing is it provided comfort and studies show talking to a deceased loved one do help people feel better. This book, though related, is from a Scottish parapsychologist and should not be confused too deeply with the American movement.

It’s important to note that “spiritualism” as a broad category with many forms is an internationally present form of traditional religious belief dating back farther than anyone really knows. There’s extensive crossover with indigenous cultures of all continents, including those conquered by the romans in Europe. The concepts of this differs from Animism and can be considered similar in philosophical concepts.

Anyways, for this Halloween special edition we are going to try out a few of these methods of communicating with the dead. We have some interesting dead people in Missoula, and I have some interesting dead family members and a number of other potential people to talk to since we live between two cemeteries (quiet neighbors!).

The hardest part was choosing what to do! plus, I can’t just leave all these explanations out, can I? So I’ll be doing a special Halloween Twitch stream reading aloud from this book tomorrow, 31 October 2020. We might even do a laser show (we’ll see how our uploading goes).

For today’s post and following instructions we are going to be focusing on chapter 6: First Steps To Spirit Intercourse. For more on the other chapters be sure to check out the Halloween Twitch stream tomorrow!

Chapter VI: First Steps To Spirit Intercourse

For each of these early preparatory sections from this chapter Jacob and I are going to share our comments on what we found most interesting.

Advice To Beginners

  • A recurring meme of antique how to books is how they are all “at considerable expense” – Jacob and I have both noted this in other antique how to books, regardless of their quality of information.
  • The author is salty (Jacob: very) at many people. Especially those in the fields of theology and psychology. But this is a safe thing for skeptics to do. He ain’t afraid of no ghosts.
  • Be polite – being too skeptical directly towards a medium is rude and causes problems…

Dangers

  • “This doesn’t actually say anything about what the dangers are” – I don’t disagree with Jacob on this.

Difficulties

  • Thoughts cause difficulties (Big Mood)
  • “Claiming to be spirits”

On To The How To!

Planchette

Similar to the planchette used for the Ouija board, this was a toy that took a pencil and drew on a piece of paper. First, one must “magnetize” the paper by having all participants rub their hands over it. Because we do not yet have one of the original style planchettes, we balanced the pencil between our fingers with hands flattened and asked a few questions. The suggested questions in the book were about relatives in Australia or the Pacific (New Zealand?), but we opted for Boston and Florida.

“Does anyone have new warts?”

I believe we can take that as maybe a “no” or “try again”

Table Tilting

Sit alternating male and female around an uncovered table and engage in pleasant but not frivolous conversation. Place hands upon the table and after a time the table will start to move and someone will need to take charge as the spirits get rowdy and begin moving things around. No minimum group size is recommended, so we decided to try with two.

It was surprisingly difficult to get this picture with our set up. Jacob kept trying to hit the camera remote with his toe (in the true spirit of Mediumship) and it kept timing out.

Automatic Writing

With attention otherwise otherwise occupied, hold a pencil and let it do its own thing on a piece of paper and see what happens.

I hope you enjoyed this fun jaunt through and antique how to book on Mediumship. Join me tomorrow on twitch.tv/dreaminventor for a livestream of more of the book being read aloud. Happy Halloween Everyone!

Announcement: Twitch Channel

Hey Everyone!

I now have a channel on Twitch so you have an opportunity to hang out with me while I’m reading antique books, editing photographs, researching photographs, writing, and doing historic document research. As a general warning: my research on primary documents from the 19th and early 20th century can be disturbing. I find out information on what society believed during this time period that may be distressing to some individuals, so viewer discretion is advised.

On occasion I would like to also get our uploading capabilities set such that I can play Steam games with friends, or even Among Us.

Each stream will be titled based on what I am doing. I will get side tracked. In my first stream today I got side tracked with a hand-and-cheek tug-o-war vaudevillian style impromptu comedy performance and it was *fun*. Other interruptions you can expect will include Nyxie playing the piano and Jacob popping into chat.

It’s 2020. I need an excuse to start putting on make up and doing my hair. I need an excuse to start speaking aloud to get used to the sound of my own voice again. I need to interact with human beings outside the house in a way that isn’t potentially life threatening.

I haven’t come up with a streaming schedule yet. Most likely it will be for only a couple hours at a time Monday through Friday. Any weekend hours will be a shocking surprise.

As I work to get this set up, I appreciate patience. At this time, I am limited by frustrations with Spectrum internet being our only option and also *the worst*. Don’t know what I mean?

This is my maximum capability right now.

That’s not really great if I want to interact with people or do much on Twitch. So, we’re working on it. I’m looking forward to being able to interact in real time.

My first stream went live and I hope I didn’t scare too many people away as we were discussing John Cowan, M.D.’s 1915 version of his book “The Science Of A New Life” where we examined an example of the intersection early feminism, the Temperance Movement, the American Eugenics Movement, American Spiritism, Mesmerism, and the many other social movements that were going on prior to the U.S.’s involvement in World War I.

Dealing With The Past – a poem

Dealing With The Past

Others hold against you–
Are hurt by and bring down wrath
Upon your pain –
Childhood never ending
Swirling inside the mind drain;
Decisions of survival
During exploration of the self–
These ghosts will haunt
Until end of time–
Their whispers paranoia sells.
There is no such thing
As kindness or compassion
Not even from the ones we love
We will always be alone
But we will always rise above.


Thank you for taking the time to read my poem today. If you would like to see more poetry, please like, comment on, or share this poem. It helps me know which types of posts my readers like best.

Lo Is Domestic AF: I Foraged Rose Hips In The Woods

While adventuring along the Skalkaho Road (Route 38) Rose Hip season is in full swing. That means, it’s time to harvest and process all these beautiful end of summer/beginning of autumn fruits. For further reading, I’m going to refer readers over to this article on processing Rose Hips on The Spruce.

Rose hips were one of my grandmother’s favorite foods. My grandmother was the daughter of a feminist, progressive “woman’s doctor” in the Deep South (Alabama). She told me a story once about how the blood and other body fluids from miscarriages and complicated births were used to feed/fertilize her family’s rose bushes while they were cleaning the surgical delivery suite in the family’s basement. Traditionally, especially in the South, human blood and animal blood was used as fertilizer for roses. You can find instructions on using blood meal to fertilize your rose bushes here.

I could go into great detail about the religious and spiritual significance around the use of blood to fertilize rose bushes that would then be used to grow and harvest the eventual resulting rose hips from the flowers. There is something truly beautiful about this cycle of life and connectedness between the earth and this particular food, especially as we enter a season where “the veil thins.”

A word of advice: if you collect wild rose hips soak them in water overnight unless you like extra protein. Use a slotted spoon to lift them from the water. You’ll see the grubbies at the bottom of the container. Pour this out, or strain them out.

I’ll add another update with preparations of rose hips including tea, jam, and cordial soon. I need to go back out and collect more rose hips before I can write about these preparation processes, specifically the cordial.

What seasonal foraging foods do you like hunting for in autumn? Are there any family favorites? Any traditions?

Thank you for reading!