VARIETIES OF WRITING MEDIUMS.
1. Accordittg to tlie Mettods of Execution.
191. Writing or Psychographic Mediums. Those who have the faculty of writing under the influence of spirits.
Mechanical Writing Mediums. Those whose hand receives an involuntary impulse, and who have no consciousness of what they write. Very rare. (No. 179.)
Semi-mechanical Mediums. Those whose hand moves involuntarily, but who have instantaneous consciousness of the words or phrases as they write them. The most common. (No. 181.)
Intuitive Mediums. Those to whom the spirit com- municates by the thought, and whose hand is guided by the will. They differ from inspired mediums, inso- much as these last have no need to write, while the intuitive medium writes the thought suggested to him instantaneously on any given and induced subject. (No. 180.)
" They are very common, but also very subject to error, because often they cannot distinguish what emanates from the spirits, and what from their own ideas.'
Polygraphic Mediums. Those whose writing changes with the spirit who communicates, or who are apt to reproduce the writing the spirit had during his life. The first case is very common ; the second — that of the identity of the writing — is more rare. (No. 219.)
Polyglot Mediums. Those who have the faculty of speaking or writing in languages unknown to them. Very rare.
Illiterate Mediums. Those who write as mediums, without knowing how to read or write in the ordinary state.
" More rare than the preceding; there is a much greater material difficulty to overcome."
2. According to the Development of the Faculty.
192. Novice Mediums. Those in whom the faculty is not yet fully developed, and who lack the necessary experience.
Unproductive Mediums. Those who can succeed in obtaining only insignificant things — monosyllables, signs, or letters, without connection. (See chapter on Formation of Mediums)
Formed of Complete Mediums. Those in whom the medianimic faculties are completely developed, who transmit the communications they receive with facility and promptitude, without hesitation. It may be readily supposed that this result is not obtained without prac- tice, while with novice mediums the communications are slow and difficult.
Laconic Mediums. Those whose communications, though easy, are brief and without development.
Explicit Mediums. The communications they obtain have all the fullness and extent that a perfect writer can attain.
" This aptitude is due to the expansion and the facility of habit, often acquired in a short time, while experience is the result of a serious study of all the difficulties presented in the practice of Spiritism. Experience gives the medium the tact necessary to appreciate the nature of the spirits, who manifest themselves, to judge their qualities, good or bad, by the minutest signs, to discern the frauds of deceiving spirits, who shelter themselves under the appearance of truth."
The importance of this quality, in default of which all others are without real utility, may be easily comprehended ; the trouble is, many mediums confound experience, fruit of study, with aptitude, product of organization; they believe themselves " passed masters " because they write easily; they repudiate all advice, and become the prey of lying and hypocritical spirits, who take them captive by nattering their pride. (See after, chapter on Obsession)
Flexible Mediums. Those in whom the. faculty is most easily adapted to various kinds of communications, and by whom all spirits, or nearly all, can manifest themselves spontaneously, or by invocation.
" This variety of mediums approach very nearly to sensitive mediums."
Exclusive Mediums. Those by whom one spirit man- ifests himself by preference, and even to the exclusion of all others.
" This is always owing to a defect in flexibility; when the spirit is good, he may attach himself to the medium from sympathy, and with a praiseworthy object ; when he is bad, it is always with a view to bringing the medium into subjection to him. It is a defect rather than a good quality, and almost obsession." (See chapter on Obsession)
Mediums for Invocation. Flexible mediums are most fitted for this kind of communication, and to the questions in detail that may be addressed to spirits. There are, under this head, mediums who are entirely special.
" Their answers are almost always limited to a re- stricted outline, incompatible with the development of general subjects."
Mediums for Spontaneous Dictations. They receive, by preference, spontaneous communications from spir- its who come without being called. When this faculty is special with a medium, it is difficult, sometimes even impossible, to make an invocation by him.
" Yet they are better furnished than those of the preceding shade. Understand that by furnishing here is understood cerebral material; for there needs often, I will even say always, a greater amount of intelli- gence for spontaneous dictations than for invocations.
Understand here, by spontaneous dictations, those which really deserve this name, and not a few incomplete phrases, or some ordinary thoughts to be found in every human head-piece.
3. According to the Kind and Speciality of the Communications.
193. Versifying Mediums. They obtain, more easily than others, communications in verse. Very common for bad verses, very rare for good ones.
Poetic Mediums. Without obtaining verse, the com- munications they receive are somewhat vaporous and sentimental; nothing expresses roughness: they are, more than others, suited to the expression of tender and affectionate expressions. All is vague, and it would be useless to ask anything exact of them. Very common.
Positive Mediums. Their communications have, in general, a character of clearness and precision which is easily accommodated to circumstantial details and exact teachings. Quite rare.
Literary Mediums. They have neither the vagueness of poetic mediums, nor the matter of fact of positive mediums ; but they discuss with sagacity ; their style is correct, elegant, and often remarkably eloquent
Incorrect Mediums. They can obtain very good things, thoughts of irreproachable morality; but their style is diffuse, incorrect, full of repetitions and improper terms.
" Material incorrectness of style is, generally speak- ing, the fault of want of intellectual culture of the medium, who is not, in this respect, a good instrument for the spirit; the spirit attaches little importance to it; for him, the essential thing is the thought, and he leaves you free to give it a suitable form. It is not the same with the false and illogical ideas a communication may enclose; they are always an indication of the inferiority of the spirit."
Historical Mediums. Those who have a special ap- titude for historical developments. This faculty, like all the others, is independent of the knowledge of the mediums; for unlearned persons, and even children, are often seen to treat of subjects far above their men- tal caliber. A rare variety of positive mediums.
Scientific Mediums. We do not say scientists, for they may be very ignorant, and, notwithstanding that, they may be more especially suited to communications relating to the sciences.
Medical Mediums. Their speciality is to serve more easily as interpreters to spirits for medical prescrip- tions. They must not be confounded with healing mediums, for these absolutely do nothing but transmit the thought of the spirit, and have, by themselves, no influence. Quite common.
Religious Mediums. They receive, more especially, communications of a religious character, or those that treat questions of religion without regard to their beliefs or their habits.
Moral Philosophic Mediums. Their communications have usually for their object questions of morals and higher philosophy. Very common for morals.
" All these shades are varieties of aptitudes of good mediums. As to those who have a special aptitude for certain communications, scientific, historical, medi- cal, or others, beyond their actual caliber, be sure they have possessed these knowledges in another existence, and that they have remained with them in a latent state; they make a part of the cerebral material necessary to the spirit who manifests himself; they are the elements which facilitate the way for him to communicate his own ideas ; for these mediums are but instruments for him, more intelligent and more easily managed than an animal would be. ERASTUS."
Mediums for Trivial and Obscene Communications.
These words indicate the kind of communications that certain mediums habitually receive, and the nature of the spirit who makes them. Whoever has studied the spirit world in all the degrees of its scale, knows that there are those whose perversity equals that of the most depraved men, and who are pleased to express their thoughts in the grossest terms. Others, less abject, are contented with trivial expressions. These mediums should desire to be relieved from the pref- erence these spirits accord them, and should envy those who, in the communications they receive, have never had an unwholesome word. One must have a strange aberration of ideas, and an utter divorce from good sense, to believe such language could be that of good spirits.
4. According to the Physical Qualities of the Mediums.
194. Calm Mediums. They always write with a cer- tain slowness, and without experiencing the least agi- tation.
Rapid Mediums write with a rapidity greater than they could voluntarily, in the ordinary state; spirits communicate with them with the velocity of lightning it might be said, they have a superabundance of fluid, which permits their instantaneous identification with the spirit. This quality has sometimes its incon- venience, the rapidity of the writing making it very difficult to read for any other but the medium.
" It is also very fatiguing, for it expends too much fluid uselessly."
Convulsive Mediums. They are in an almost feverish state of over-excitement; their hand, and sometimes their whole person, is agitated with a trembling they cannot master. The primary cause is, without doubt, in the organization, but it depends also much on the nature of the spirits who communicate with them ; good and benevolent spirits always make a gentle and agreeable impression ; the bad, on the contrary, a painful one.
" Mediums should use but rarely their medianimic faculty, where the too frequent use of it may affect the nervous system." (Chapter on Identity, distinction between good and bad spirits.)
5. According to the Moral Qualities of tlie Medium.
195. We mention them summarily to memorize and complete the list; but they will be developed by and by in the special chapters, — On the Moral Influence of Mediums ; On Obsession ; On Identity of Spirits ; and others to which we call particular attention ; the influence which the qualities and whims of the medi- ums can exercise on the certainty of communications, and who are those we can reasonably consider imper- fect mediums, or good ones, will then be seen.
196. Obsessed Mediums. Those who cannot rid them- selves of importunate and deceiving spirits, but who are not deceived.
Fascinated Mediums. Those who are directed by deceiving spirits, and are deluded in the nature of the communications they receive.
Subjugated Mediums. Those who are subjected to a moral, and often material domination, on the part of bad spirits.
Trifling Mediums. Those who do not accept their faculty as serious, and use it only for amusement, or for futile things.
Indifferent Mediums. Those who draw no moral profit from the instructions, and in no way modify their conduct or their habits.
Presumptuous Mediums. Those who pretend that they alone are en rapport with superior spirits. They believe in their own infallibility, and regard as inferior and erroneous all that does not emanate from them.
Haughty Mediums. Those who are vain of the com- munications they receive; they think they have nothing more to learn of Spiritism, and do not take to themselves the lessons they often receive on the part of the spirits. They are not contented with the fac- ulties they possess ; they would have all.
Susceptible Mediums. A variety of the haughty mediums ; they are wounded by the criticisms of which their communications may be the object; they are angry at the least contradiction, and if they show what they obtain, it is to have it admired, and not to ask advice. Generally, they take an aversion to the persons who do not applaud them without reserve, and desert the reunions they cannot impose upon and control.
" Let them go and strut elsewhere, and seek ears more complaisant, or withdraw into isolation ; the reunions they deprive of their presence do not sustain a very great loss. "ERASTUS."
Mercenary Mediums. Those who sell their faculty.
Ambitious Mediums. Those who, without putting a price on their faculty, yet hope to draw from it some advantages.
Insincere Mediums. Those who, having real facul- ties, simulate those they have not, for the sake of being important. The title of medium cannot be given to those who, having no medianimic faculty, produce effects only by jugglery.
Egotistic Mediums.. Those who use their faculty only for personal use, and keep for themselves all the communications they receive.
Jealous Mediums. Those who see with envy other mediums better appreciated, and who are their superiors.
All these bad qualities have, necessarily, their coun- terparts in good.
197. Serious Mediums. Those who use their faculty only for good and for really useful purposes ; they would consider it profaned if used for the satisfaction of the curious and indifferent, or for trifles.
Modest Mediums. Those who take no merit to themselves for the communications they receive, however beautiful they may be ; they regard themselves, in connection with it, as strangers, and do not consider themselves proof against mystifications. Far from avoiding disinterested advice, they solicit it.
Devoted Mediums. Those who understand that the true medium has a mission to fulfill, and should, when it is necessary, sacrifice tastes, habits, pleasures, time, and even his material interests, to the good of others.
Certain Mediums. Those who, with facility of exe- cution, deserve the most confidence, by their own character, the elevated nature of the spirits, whose assistants they are, and who are the least exposed to be deceived. We shall see, by and by, that this secu- rity depends not at all on the names, more or less respectable, that the spirits -take.
" It is incontestable, you can readily see, that thus criticising the qualities and whims of mediums, will excite contrarieties, and even animosities, with some; but what matter ? Mediumship is spreading day by day, and more and more, and the medium who would take these reflections amiss would prove one thing — that he is not a good medium, or is assisted by bad spirits. Then, too, as I have already said, it is but for a time; and bad mediums, or those who abuse or misuse their faculties, will suffer the sad consequences, as some have already done ; they will learn to their cost what it is. to turn to the profit of their worldly passions a gift which God has given them for their moral advancement. If you cannot lead them into the good path, pity them, for I can tell you they are cast away by God. ERASTUS."
" This descriptive list is of great importance, not only for sincere mediums, who will truly seek, in reading it, to avoid the dangers to which they are exposed, but also for those who make use of mediums, because it will show them what they may rationally expect in it. It should be always kept in view by every one engaged in manifestations, the same as the Spirit Scale, which is its complement: these two descriptive lists sum up all the principles of the doctrine, and will contribute more than may be supposed to restore Spiritism to its true mission. SOCRATES."
198. All these varieties of mediums present infinite degrees in their intensity : there are many which con- stitute but shades, properly speaking, but which are not the less effects of special aptitudes. It may easily be supposed that the faculty of a medium being rigor- ously circumscribed to one single kind is quite rare ; the same medium can,-doubtless, have several tenden- cies, but there is always a governing one, and to the cultivation of that one he should devote himself if it be useful.
It is a serious wrong to wish to press to the development a faculty one does not possess: all those whose germs are seen to be within us should be cultivated, but to pursue the others is, in the first place, to lose time, and, in the second place, to lose, perhaps, — weaken, certainly, — those with which we are en- dowed.
" When the principle, the germ of a faculty, exists, it is always shown by unequivocal signs. By adhering to his speciality the medium may excel, and obtain, grand and beautiful things ; in trying to do all, he will do nothing well. Be it remarked, in passing, that the desire to extend indefinitely the circle of his faculties is'a haughty presumption that the spirits never leave unpunished ; the good always abandon the presump- tuous, who thus become the sport of lying spirits.
" Unhappily, it is not rare to see mediums discontented with the gifts they have received, and aspire, from self-love or ambition, to possess exceptional faculties, that they may be noticed ; this presumption destroys their most precious quality — that of sure mediums. " SOCRATES."
199. The study of the speciality of mediums is necessary, not only for these, but for the invocator. According to the nature of the spirit whom it is desired to call, and the questions to be addressed to him, it is proper to choose the medium most suitable to the purpose; to take the first one at hand is to be ex- posed to the reception of incomplete or erroneous answers. Let us take a comparison from ordinary- usage. An editorial, even a simple copy, would not be confided to the first comer, because he might know how to write. A musician wants a bit of singing exe- cuted, of his own composition ; he has at his disposal several singers, all skillful; yet he does not take by chance: he will choose for his interpreter the one whose voice, expression, all whose qualities, in fact, best answer to the nature of the music. The spirits do the same with regard to the medium, and we should do as do the spirits.
It is, besides, to be remarked, that the shades that mediumship presents, and to which others might be added, are not always related to the character of the medium ; thus, for instance, a medium naturally gay and jovial, might habitually have grave, even severe communications, and vice versa; here, again, is an evident proof that he acts under a foreign influence. We shall return to this subject in the chapter that treats of the Moral Influence of tlie Medium.