Crystal gazing

How to become medium

For centuries and centuries, as far back as man's history has been recorded; the crystal gazing globe has been one of the principal means by which so called philosophers and mediums have professed to be able to fortell the past, present and future event in the life of a believer in the occult. In a recent paper, Mr. Prestou Langley Hickey has set forth what may be the secret of the mystery of the practice in modern times. This is what he tells us :

Crystal Ball illusion

"During the past 10 years I have been an ardent devotee to magic and spiritualism as a hobby, and to back up and prove my statements in the above paragraph, I will explain in detail here, a method of the crystal gazing globe, of my own invention, very simple, the like of which exists nowhere else, and yet with which I have mystified even those who flattered themselves on being quite proficient in the art. The effect of my seance was as follows : Close up against a wall, usually in front of a heavy drape as a fitting background, with just enough room behind it to place a chair for myself, stood a little table, on which was my crystal. My spectators were seated in the form of a half circle between 10 and 15 feet from the crystal. When everything was ready for the performance, the lights were turned out. The spectators were then requested to ask questions, being cautioned all the time to keep their minds concentrated on what they wish to know, end their eyes fixed upon the crystal, which they could see only very faintly in the gloom.

Mysterious Vapour

Suddenly the crystal seemed to radiate with a faint glow of light, varying from red, blue and green to white. This light gradually grew brighter, but that was not all. At the same time, from within the very depths of the crystal, a seething mass of vapour mysteriously swirled about. Each varying coloured vapour had its own significance, which of course I would explain, and then at the conclusion I would switch on the lights, and nothing but the cold crystal remained, all other coloured lights and vapour having vanished. The effect was very startling and beautiful to say the least, and never once was I detected in my performance. While the illusion in itself is a rather complicated affair, a careful perusal of the directions set forth here, will give the reader a clear mental picture of the details of construction. Secure four pieces of timber two by two inches square and of timber two by two inches square and 30 inches lane. These will act as legs for your table. For the top, which should be 16 inches wide by 14 inches long, any piece of small board of that dimension and no over three-quarters of an inch in thickness will do. Any sort of thin strips of wood may be employed as reinforcements to the legs and top of the table. A fringed and decorated drape is tacked around the edge of the table top, and hangs down to within not more than a foot from the floor. Thus all apparatus and working mechanism is securely concealed, and even the unusual length of the drape never excites suspicion.

Some of the Settings

The crystal is in reality merely a large clear lamp globe set firmly in the pedestal. In the pedestal are four little sockets in which fit the four lights that are employed. While it is very possible for the young mechanic, who has a knowledge of wood turning to make this pedestal himself, if you are not familiar along these lines, go to some wood-turning establishment, and you can have a food pedestal turned at a nominal cost. The size of the pedestal will depend entirely upon the size of the globe that you use. A cabinet may be made from an ordinary wooden box, small and yet plenty large enough to contain the manipulative apparatus of the illusion, leaving enough room for you to operate the light rheostats easily. Four audion rheostats are connected with the batteries and also with the lights. The rheostats when turned slowly, cause the lights to come on very faintly and grow brighter by slow degrees. An ordinary atomiser bulb, the tube of which goes to a bottle provided with a two-hole stopper, and thence up through the tabletop, and the bottom of the pedestal, terminating just under the centre of the globe. The drape should not extend all the way around the table. It may cover at least a quarter of the back of each side, but plenty of room should be left for the hands to work uninterruptedly. Now for the actual operation.

Some Beautiful Colours

When the lights have been extinguished, and someone asks a question, turn one of the rheostats slightly, at the same time squeezing the smoke bulb, and a faint glow will appear, which reflecting up through the smoke will give the impression of a highly coloured vapour. Slowly increase the light intensity and your pressure on the bulb, and at the end, the globe will be a seething mass of beautifully coloured vapour. For more vapour the bulb is pressed and released several times. In the improved form by simply releasing the air bulb, the crystal is freed and the operation can be repeated with another light. Two or more lights can also be used, and the most beautiful colour combinations imaginable can be thus created. All that the operator needs in order to work this illusion successfully is a good imagination; that is to be quickly able to form an answer within your mind to any question that might be put to you. The following is not necessary, but our 'Science and Invention' authority suggests that if you can afford to purchase a genuine crystal, three quarters the size of the globe that you use, so that it can sit within the globe on a smaller pivot of the big pedestal, it, for some explainable reason makes the illusion stand out at its best. The effect is much better, although it can be very successfully worked without the genuine crystal within the globe. It was performed with the globe alone for years, and it was only recently that the idea of having a real crystal connected with the seance occurred to Mr. Hickey.

The Journal (Adelaide), 14 January 1922