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It is interesting to note that automatic writing is one of the oldest recorded forms of super-normal communication. More than 2,000 years ago it was mentioned by a Hebrew seer: "All this the Lord made me understand in writing with His hand upon me" (I Chronicles 28:19).
Automatic messages may take place either by the automatist passively holding a pencil on a sheet of paper, or by the planchette and allowing the planchette to be moved by some unseen force.
A fascinating instance of automatic writing occurred when Professor Henry Sidgwick (died in 1900), wrote "from beyond the grave" in the communication the signature of Professor Sidgwick was signed. The signature is identical with that in the many letters that several members of the Society for Psychical Research had received from Professor Sidgwick when on earth, and here also there is no reason to believe the medium a lady (that was known personally to the S. P. R.), had ever seen Professor Sidgwick's handwriting.
The Abraham Florentine Case
In August 1874, Mr. S. Moses was staying with a friend, a medical man, in the Isle of Wight, and at one of the "sittings" which they had together a communication was received with singular impetuosity purporting to be from a spirit who gave the name Abraham Florentine, and stated that he had been engaged in the United States war of 1812, but only lately had entered into the spiritual world, having died at Brooklyn, N. Y, USA., on August 5th, 1874 at the age of eighty-three years, one month and seventeen days. None present knew of such a person, but Mr. Moses published the particulars as above stated in a London newspaper, asking at the same time American journals to copy, so that if possible, the statement made might be verified or disproved.
In course of time an American lawyer, a "claimagent" who had been auditing the claims of soldiers in New York, saw the paragraph, and wrote to an American newspaper to say that he had come across the name of A. Florentine, and that a full record of the person who made the claim could be obtained from the U. S. Adjutant-General's Office. Accordingly the headquarters of the US army was applied to, and an official reply was received, stating that a private named Abraham Florentine had served in the American war in the early part of the century. Ultimately the widow of Abraham Florentine was found to be alive.
Dr. Crowell, a Brooklyn physician, by means of a directory, discovered her address in Brooklyn, and saw and questioned the widow, She stated that her husband had fought in the war of 1812, that he was a rather impetuous man, and had died in Brooklyn on August 5th, 1874, and that his eighty third birthday was on the previous June 8th. He was therefore eighty three years, one month, twenty seven days old when he died, the only discrepancy being seventeen for twenty seven days a mistake that might easily have arisen in recording the message through Mr. Moses when entranced in the Isle of Wight.
The only surmise that can be made is that Mr. Moses had seen some notice of the man's death and career in an American newspaper, and either had forgotten the fact or had purposely deceived his friends. But then, this could only have been one of many similar cases of forgetfulness or deception, and before we can assume this we have to prove that Mr. Moses did obtain the required information by means of newspapers or other mundane channels of information. This Mr. Moses is certain that he did not, or to find a particle of evidence on behalf of the wearisome and motiveless deception which must, in this event, habitually have characterized a man of spotless integrity and honor. Moreover, it is wholly unlikely an obscure private soldier should have an obituary notice in an American newspaper, or if it were so, that it should have been noted by English readers.
...after critically examining this case, Mr. F. W. H. Myers remarks: 'I hold that the surviving spirit of Abraham Florentine did really communicate with Mr. Moses'"
Frederic W. H. Myers (Myers was an English poet, critic, and essayist whose later life was increasingly devoted to the work of the Psychical Research Society, which he helped to found in 1882) wrote:
"It is conceivable, that thought transference and clairvoyance may be pushed to the point of a sort of terrene omniscience; so that a man's unconscious self some phantasmal picture should be open too all that men are doing or have done."
Little did Myers know that this is exactly how the Akashic Record works!
OBJECTIONS TO AUTOMATIC WRITING:
The main objection to automatic writing comes from the fact that the unconsciousness of the medium could play an important role in the communication. Even the messages have to be fully examined and weighed as to their being true and accurate.
Another problem is that telepathy could play a role in the work of the automatist. Could the automatist be influenced by either the thoughts from the deceased or someone else nearby? How do we know that the communication is actually from a deceased person?
Some people argue that through automatic writing, the bulk of the messages are attributed to "disembodied spirits of Satanic agency. However, there are cases where this is clearly not the case.
William Barrett (Professor of Physics) made the following statement which I found to be very interesting:
"Those who remain in doubt as to the value of the evidence should remember that it is and probably will be, impossible (italics mine, ARL) to obtain such conclusive logical demonstration of survival after death as will satisfy every agnostic. But "formal logical sequence" as cardinal Newman said in his "Grammar of Assent", "is not, in fact, the method by which we are enabled to become certain of what is concrete...The real and necessary method is the culmination of probabilities, independent of each other, arising out of the nature and circumstances of the particular case which is under review," and is the truth of the spirit hypothesis, of spirit identity, like the truth of all disputed matters, is to be judged in this way,-that is by the whole evidence taken together.
Three ways of knowing that the information from an automatist is truthful:
First, The mind of the automatist can never be completely pushed aside, erased, made vacant. Any communication will show the automatist's mind at work, however much evidence there may be of a discarnate contribution.
Secondly, certain fundamental biases, or ways of working, which characterize the automatist, his way of looking at matters, his way of expressing himself, will appear over and above the sheet content of his thought.
Third, these subconscious strata are often suggestible and pushed into incorrect or self-contradictory statements. The spiritualist who believes that trance utterances are literal expressions of the intent of the deceased is caught in many embarrassing instances where the message simply could not emanate from the deceased at all.
Copyright © 2004, Albert R. Lane, All Rights Reserved