Before the Ouija Board, there was Table Turning

Success is never guaranteed, but we’ve often observed that tables will tip for sitters who are willing to wait, concentrate and remain still.

Table Turning

By Jake Cordero

Table turning — it is one of the earliest and most rudimentary methods for attempting contact with the other side.  Before the Ouija board, before spirit bells and electronic voice phenomenon, there was table turning. The practice was common among spiritualists in both America and Europe as far back as the mid-1850s.

The method is simple. First you need a wooden table — any small one will do. We typically prefer three-legged tables, but the four-legged variety also works. (It’s better, however, if the table isn’t too heavy.) Now gather a few friends, interspersing each at regular intervals around your table. We typically dim the lights and then begin with a guided meditation or short prayer. Strange as it may sound, we recommend that you also lead your friends in rounds of an easily recognizable and repetitive song, such as “Row Row Row Your Boat.”

As your friends sing, each should place their finger tips on the edge of the table. They should do this lightly, while simultaneously keeping their palms up and away from the table surface. This results in the sitters’ elbows being extended slightly. It’s also important that the tips of the sitters’ fingers remain planted near the table’s edge.

The sitters should continue singing, in unison, but remain patient. Some may want to close their eyes to concentrate — either on a single entity or (if they believe in residual hauntings) on the specific home or building where the table is located. This process likely will continue for minutes, maybe tens of minutes, without a noticeable movement.

Success is never guaranteed, but we’ve often observed that tables will tip for sitters who are willing to wait, concentrate and remain still.  Sometimes the movement is subtle, and sometimes it is quite vigorous. The table may tilt to one side, and then rock back to the other. It may rotate. We’ve even seen tables scoot across the room, as if pushed by invisible hands.

Have a few questions prepared in advance, then call them out as the table begins its gyrations.  Sitters may want to agree on a system wherein a tilt to one side signifies “Yes” and a tilt to another signifies “No.” Sitters also can call out letters of the alphabet and tease out names and words. If three or four letters emerge that seem to indicate a specific name or word, then don’t hesitate to call out the entirety of the word and see if you receive a “Yes” or “No” in response. This is a good way to save time.

The table-turning phenomenon (some call it “table tipping”) can be particularly startling, especially given that many believe the information gleaned from these sessions cannot be obtained from other sources.  Explanations for the phenomena include the direct actions of spirits or otherworld entities, the effect of “mesmerism” (a sort of hypnotism), or an unconscious muscular action known as the “ideomoter” effect.

You can decide for yourself by holding your own table-turning session. All you need is a wooden table, friends and a spirit of adventure.


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