Tag Archives: Experiences

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!

Prima – A Poem

Prima

She listens to the world move
[beat,
two-three,
beat]
like old people listen to talk radio.
And flutters in her own world,
wild thing,
she programs an image to her brain:

reality

it crashes.

Much like a ballet,
she falls when she fears the music is stopping.
[pressing her cheek against her knee]
Then valiantly she jumps and spins,
[twirling
two, three,
spinning
two, three]

But eventually, all music ends;

fallen on the stage

alone.


If you connected with this poem, the comments section is for you to share your thoughts and/or experiences. I am grateful to anyone that chooses to share – I make that space for you. Thank you for taking the time to read this poem today.

My Guitar – A Poem

This forgotten poem is likely from later in high school, 2005 – 2007. Let me know if you have any interesting interpretations in the comments 🙂

Photo by Jacek Dylag on Unsplash

My Guitar

As I run my fingers across the strings
I feel a spirit move in me
It brings a force out of my hands
An uncontrollable beat to be set free
And it feeds: off my soul and eternal needs
As I allow it to echo through the chamber
This seemingly pure instrument through which it breeds


Thank you for taking the time to read this poem today! Have you ever found any of your old writing? What did you think of it? What do you think of this one? I’d love to hear in the comments!

If you’d like to see more of my forgotten poetry, please like, comment, and/or share this post. It helps me know what content my readers are most interested in seeing, so I can better know what to share here.

New Short Story: The Vacant House

Photo by Sidney See on Unsplash.com

Up now on Coffee House Writers is my short story The Vacant House.

This is an experimental piece I’ve played around with since its first draft in 2015. Since then it morphed into what it is now and I decided that it was time to throw it out into the world for some feedback. My editor didn’t have much to provide, so maybe others can help?

The initial idea:

How can I tell a story from the perspective of something that would normally not be given the benefit of thought and perception?

How would a house try to communicate with its occupants?

I had to make certain decisions that frustrated me, such as the house being able to read and understand English. This introduced a supernatural element that, while I am already pushing things by talking about a house capable of thought and perception, seemed a bit too farfetched.

Another thing that frustrated me about this piece: the house’s existential crisis.

What are your thoughts on the piece? Do you have feedback?

Thank you so much for taking the time to read my work and I hope you have a wonderful rest of your day!

If you enjoy my work, please take a moment to like, share, and/or leave a comment. This helps me know what y’all are most interested in seeing and how I can best engage. Without you, these letters mean nothing -– your brain assembles them in a way that generates meaning and decodes the way my brain encoded this information as I typed this out. It’s viewable on brain imaging studies on language processing!