The Voice Box

Seeking to Establish and Share Knowledge and Understanding

The Rolling Table

Leaves from the Book of Memory (5)

By Ernest W. Oaten

The Rolling Table

I had been several times to the B…… Congregational Church Bible Class to talk on Spiritualism, and one Bank Holiday Sunday the Secretary came round to tell me that the speaker had disappointed them.

There would surely be a small attendance owing to the holiday, but he would be glad if I would come round and talk to them. I had just finished lunch, but I went.

I had been talking to the class for about five or ten minutes with an audience of about probably twenty, when one smart lad suggested, “Mr. Oaten, can’t we have some demonstration?”

“Why not — have you got a small table?” A small gipsy table of light weight and with three crossed legs was produced.

I selected four of the most likely lads, and sat them at the table, taking care not to touch it myself. I called upon certain guides for assistance, and in a few moments the table was rocking regularly.

The company were frankly astonished, and looked at each of the four sitters in turn, imagining of course, that one of them was pushing it. By gradual elimination, I got three pairs of hands removed from the table, until only one pair remained.

The table continued rocking. “Ah,” said I, “now if anyone’s pushing it, we know who it is.” The astonished individual assured us with many protestations that his hands were lightly resting upon the table, and he was doing no pushing.

In the course of an hour that table moved for seven of them, with only one pair of hands on it.

Each of them was satisfied that it moved of its own volition. Then I got four of them at the table again, and in obedience to my request the table tilted until its edge rested on the floor, and then stood upright again. This was rapidly repeated half a dozen times.

I then asked that the table be laid on the floor, with two legs and the edge resting thereon, and requested that the legs be lifted up.

Four pairs of hands were lightly touching the tabletop, but the legs were lifted from the floor so that it rested on its edge.

The whole company was amazed. Whether some practical joker then seized the control of table, I could only surmise, but it started rolling like a hoop, while four frenzied individuals tried to keep their hands in contact with its surface, and chased it round the room!

Pandemonium soon broke out, and if the Minister of the Church had come into the Bible Class just at that moment he would have wondered whether they had all gone mad.

Presently quietude was once more established. The table stood on its three legs. It was then suggested that we should get to know the identity of the person moving the table, but I thought they had had enough for one day, so I called attention to the time, and bade them adieu.

Whether they ever tried further table experiments I don’t know. Whether the conditions of the Bible Class room added some strength to the phenomena I don’t know, but we certainly had a display that afternoon of some phenomena that could not have been wilfully produced by anyone present.

The Scent Bottle

I had several remarkable experiences with Mrs Truman, but one of the most puzzling cases in my experience was one received at the house of a friend with this same medium.
There were about fourteen of us present, and after several apports had been produced, Mr Vernon, one of the sitters, said, “Tommy, you have never been near my house, and I have never met your medium until tonight.

Do you think you could go to my house and bring something from there?” Tommy replied. “I don’t know, but I am always willing to try. Will you concentrate your mind upon your house, so as to give me a line of communication?”

For some few moments we sat in silence, and then suddenly came the strong smell of a beautiful perfume, which filled the whole room. Everyone remarked upon the fascination and fragrance of the scent. We asked where it came from.

Tommy was very apologetic, and said, “I am sorry, Mr. Vernon, I have been to your house, and I tried to bring a bottle of scent, and I am afraid I have upset it.” “Where did you get it, Tommy?” “Well, I found a bottle of scent in the top drawer of a chest of drawers in your bedroom, and I tried to bring it with me, but I am afraid that I have taken out the cork and spilt the scent. I am very sorry.”

“Well” said Mr. Vernon, “I did give my wife a present of a bottle of perfume, but where she put it I don’t know.

“Oh,” said Tommy, “it is in the top drawer in a chest of drawers, but if I could not bring the bottle I have brought the scent. A fact, which was very evident to the nostrils of everyone present.

Now Vernon lived some two miles away. No one present at the séance had ever been in his house. I doubt if anyone there knew where he lived, for he was quite a casual visitor. When, however, he returned home, he went up to his bedroom, taking with him a witness, and there in the top drawer of the chest of drawers was a bottle of “ashes of roses.” The cork had been extracted, the bottle was lying on its side, and the scent had flowed all over the drawer.

What has puzzled me through the years is how they brought the scent of the perfume while leaving the bottle, cork, and apparently the material intact in the drawer?


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