An Interesting Italian Fountain

1898 Scientific American  
A favorite trick of one medium was to have a pile of slates on top of the table. After the slates had been thoroughly examined, he would clean them and place them on the floor. showing each slate after cleaning. He would then pick them all up at once and replace them on the table and select two of them, putting thelll together and holding them in his hands above his Iwad ; he would then separate them and show one covered with writing. There was no trick about the I slates themsel yes, as would
more » ... msel yes, as would be easily proved by the examination to which they were put before and after the spirit manifestations. The explanation of the trick is as follows: The floor was covered with a car pet in which there was a slit or cut just wide enough to pass a slate through. Before the seance, a slate written on one side is placed under the carpet with the writing downward. (S�e Fig. 9 .) The slates, as they Fig. 9.-THE SLATE UNDER THE CARPET. are cleaned, are laid on the carpet immediately over or near the concealed one. and on lifting the slates from the floor, this one is also carried with them and placed on the table. Of course, it is this slate and one of the prepared ones that are afterward used. There is little likelihoo(l of anyone taking notice of there being one more slate in tile pile. 'Ve now collle to what Illediullls term the "double slate." It is. to all appeal'ances, two ordinary slates hinged together at Olle side and locked with a padlock, the shackle of which goes through a hole in the sides of the frame of each slate. This slate also contains the false flap or slate, but the slate or flap is held firmly in either frame in the following manner: The inside edges of both ends of each frame are beveled inward a trifle. One of these ends of each slate frame is also made to slide or pull out about It quarter of an inch. These are prevented from sliding, until the medium desires it, by a catch in the framework, which is con nected with a screw in one of the hinges. This screw stands a little higher than the rest, so that it is easily fonnd by the medium. The hinges are on the outside of the frame instead of the inside. When the screw is pressed it loosens the catch. which allows the ends to be moved a trifle. The false flap is just large enough to fill in the space ullder the bevels of the frame, and if the catch in the top frame is rel eased and the end llloveCi, the flap will drop into the bottom slate, where it is held tight and firm, by releasing the catch in that frame and moving the end un til the flap settles into its place and then sends the end back into its original place again. The wl'iting is placed beforehand on one slate and on one side of the flap, both the written sides being face to face, but aftp,r the flap has changed places, or, we might say, cbanged slates, two slates are presen ted with written sides. There is another dou ble slate made with hinges and padlocks. (See Fig. 10.) Olle of the ends of the wooden fraJlle of one slate is fastened seclll'ely to pins on the slate, which is made to slide out cOlllpletely frolll the frame. This, of course, allows the sides of both slates to be written upon. After that is done the slate is slid back into its frame. Care should be taken in sliding the pins back not to reverse it so as to bring the writing side out. $ titutifit �mttitIU. Another spirit trick is performed as follows: The stranger is allowed to bring two slates and to wash and seal them himself in the presence of the medium. The medium places a piece of chalk between the slates before they were sealed. The slates were then sealed in a most elaborate llIanner; court plaster and sealing Fig. lO.-THE PADLOCKED SLATE. wax being profus�ly used, making it an utter impos sibility to insert the minutest piece of wire or like body between the slates; nevertheless, after the slates were held under the table, they were unsealed and writing was found upon the inner surface of one of them, although it could hardly be called writing, being little more than a scrawl. Our Fig. 11 shows how the trick was performed. The piece of chalk the medium placed between the slates was composed of pulverized chalk mixed with a little glue water and iron filings and allowed to become hard. The medium while under cover of the table traces with a magnet below the slate the words found upon the inside, but backward. The chalk, on account of a considerable percentage of iron filings it contains, rolls around over the slate, Illaking a kind of mark. AN INTERESTING ITALIAN FOUNTAIN.
doi:10.1038/scientificamerican10291898-276a fatcat:rjzqjlgcxvbgxftjbivgabvrme