Formation of Mediums from Experimental Spiritism
This section is practical guide for developing automatic writing, chopping out all the spiritualist stuff condenses it nicely:
The process is of the simplest: it consists solely in taking pencil and paper, and the position of writing, without other preparation ; but to succeed, several recommendations are indispensable.
As a material point, we recommend the avoidance of everything that can interfere with the free motion of the hand ; it is even preferable that it should not rest at all on the paper. The point of the pencil should rest enough to trace, but not enough to experience any resistance. All these precautions are useless when the person has come to write easily, for then no obstacle can arrest it: these are only the preliminaries of the scholar.
The first indication of a disposition to write, is a kind of trembling in the arm and hand ; little by little the hand is carried along by an impulse that it cannot master. It often traces, at first, but insignificant signs; then the characters are drawn more and more clearly, and it ends by acquiring the rapidity of ordinary writing. In all cases the hand must be abandoned to its natural movement, neither resisting nor propelling.
Some mediums write easily and rapidly from the beginning, sometimes even from the first sitting, which is quite rare; others for a long time make lines and genuine calligraphic exercises ; the spirits say to limber the hand.
The writing is sometimes very legible, words and letters perfectly detached ; but with some mediums it is difficult to decipher for any other than the one who writes it; the habit must be acquired. It is quite often formed in large characters ; the spirits are little economical of paper. When a word or phrase is illegible, ask the spirit to please begin again, which he is usually willing to do. When the writing is habitually illegible, even for the medium, he can almost always succeed in obtaining clearer copy by frequent and continued practice, bringing to it a strong will, and earnestly requesting the spirit to be more correct. Some spirits often adopt conventional signs, which pass current in habitual circles. To mark when a question displeases them, or they do not wish to answer, they will, for instance, make a long bar, or something equivalent.
When the spirit has finished what he had to say, or will no longer answer, the hand remains immovable, and the medium, be his power and will what they may, can obtain no further word. On the contrary, until the spirit has finished, the pencil goes on without the hand being able to stop it. If he wish to say something spontaneously, the hand seizes the pencil convulsively, and begins to write without power to oppose it. The medium almost always feels within him something that indicates, if it is only a suspension, or if the spirit has ended. It is seldom he does not feel when he is gone.
If, after useless attempts followed up for some time, no indication of involuntary movement is produced, or if these movements are too weak to give results, he should not hesitate to write the first thought suggested to him, without troubling himself as to whether it come from himself or a foreign source ; experience will teach him to make the distinction. It very often happens that the mechanical movement will be ulteriorly developed.
ideomotor effect (magnetism too!) page 250:
One method, which often succeeds, consists in employing as temporary auxiliary a good, flexible writing medium already formed. If he rests his hand or his fingers on the hand that is wanted to write, it is seldom that it does not succeed immediately: this is easily comprehended: the hand that holds the pencil becomes, in a manner, an appendage to the hand of the medium, like a basket or a planchette; but that does not prevent this exercise from being very useful when it can be done, inasmuch as if, often and regularly repeated, it helps to overcome the material obstacle, and develop the faculty. Magnetizing strongly the arm and hand will sometimes suffice; often even the magnetizer may simply rest his hand on the shoulder, and we have seen persons write at once under this influence. The same effect may be produced without contact, by the sole effort of will. It may easily be seen that the confidence of the magnetizer to produce this result will make a great difference, and that a skeptical one would have little or no action
group effect (individually not planchette) page 251;
Another means, that may also powerfully contribute to the development of the faculty, consists in gathering together a certain number of persons all animated by the same desire and by a community of intention; then let all simultaneously, in absolute silence, and with a religious concentration, try to write, each appealing to his guardian angel or to some sympathetic spirit. One of them may, without special designation, and for all the members of the assembly, make a general appeal to good spirits, saying, for instance, In the name of Almighty God, we pray good spirits to please communicate by the persons here present. It is very seldom that among the number there will not be some who give prompt signs of mediumship, or even write easily in a very short time.
This can be readily explained. Persons united by a community of intention form a collective whole, whose power and susceptibility are increased by a kind of magnetic influence which aids in the development of the faculty. Among the spirits attracted by this concourse of wills, there are some who find the instrument suited to them ; if not one, it will be another, and they profit by it.
different hand writing page 259:
A very ordinary phenomenon, with writing mediums, is the change of writing according to the spirits who communicate ; and what is more remarkable, the same writing is constantly reproduced with the same spirit, and sometimes it is identical with that he had while living ; we shall see, by and by, the results that may be drawn from this as to identity. The change of writing takes place only with those mediums who are mechanical or semi-mechanical, because with them the movement of the hand is involuntary, and directed by the spirit; it is not the same with mediums purely intuitive, for in such case the spirit acts solely on the thought, and the hand is directed by the will, as in ordinary circumstances, but the uniformity of the writing, even with a mechanical medium, proves absolutely nothing against the faculty, change not being an absolute condition in the manifestations of the spirits ; it pertains to a special aptitude, with which the most mechanical mediums are not always endowed. We designate those who have this aptitude under the name of polygraphic mediums.