Archive for August, 2014


July 4, 1920 William Fuld has no Faith in Ouija

   Posted by: David    in Uncategorized

July 4, 1920 William Fuld has no Faith in Ouija


The headline of an article published in the Baltimore Sun on July 4, 1920 read, “William Fuld Made $1,000,000 on Ouija but Has No Faith in It.” The subtitle said that although he doesn’t believe that the board has “spiritual powers,” he did show great confidence in the board as a money maker by erecting a new factory to supply the growing demand for the board.

When interviewed by a Sun reported he was painting shutters in work clothes. The reporter was surprised that a man of such success might be in work clothes. I wonder how a person might achieve success without being in work clothes but that was the kind of man William Fuld was. He was hands on from the beginning. He knew how to do every job at his factory, and he knew his competition. If anything he was an excellent businessman with a strong work ethic but I am a little surprised by the allegation of the article.

When asked directly, do you believe in the Ouija board, William reportedly laughed and said, “I should say not. I’m no Spiritualist. I’m a Presbyterian.” The article said that although he makes the board, William “wouldn’t trust it with as much as a question about the weather.”

Successful business people understand who their customers are, what their customers want, and they supply that need. Great business people respect their customer base. Whatever his belief in his product was and I do take him at his word, he provided well for his customers. Even today, years after his death, with all the magnificent custom made boards that are available, nothing takes my breath away like the wood boards manufactured in the later years of the Fuld held company in Baltimore. As far as I am concerned the Fuld boards continue to be the standard by which all other boards are measured.


Madame de Ferriem

   Posted by: David    in Uncategorized

Madame de Ferriem

There is something about precognition that runs against my grain.

It is good when facts run against my ideological grain because these facts remind me that dogmatism is only for those who know all and I am certainly not in that mythical class of people.

I prefer to believe that we create our destinies, that destiny is not predetermined however a belief in the free will of the individual does not necessarily preclude the phenomena of precognition.

It might be that, both globally and personally, certain events are predetermined while other events are not.

It might be that prophecy is self-fulfilling in the sense that a prophecy either given or believed with sufficient conviction contains within it the energy to create the very change it is foreshadowing.

It might be that both predestination and free will are universal laws harmonizing in ways our finite human minds cannot fathom. A seminary professor once told me, “It is like railroad tracks. When standing between them they appear separate and distinct but as you look to the horizon they seem to meet.”

It might also be that our construct of time and space is faulty.

Perhaps time is not linear and what we perceive of as the past, the present, and the future are unfolding simultaneously. If this is the case then passing in and out of time could be as easy as walking in or out of a room.

This theory could also explain some spirit phenomena.

For example, a medium, holding a séance is a room where a young woman died in childbirth calls upon the young woman. The young woman responds. In 1873 when this young woman died, she lies in her bed suffering hearing the voice of a disembodied spirit calling her name. She responds to it. Both the medium in contemporary times and the “spirit” from the past believe they are “hearing disembodied voices,” when what they are really doing is holding a conversation across a ripple in time.

In 1781, a Scottish poet by the name of Thomas Campbell wrote, “Coming events cast their shadows before them.”

Some people might be able to see these shadows.
Under certain circumstances perhaps all people can see these shadows.

The Wheel of Fortune of the major arcana suggests, as Susan Hanson put it, that “there is freedom for the individual to make choices in life, but they are within the confines of one’s fate and destiny,” – from The Hanson-Roberts Tarot Companion.

Whatever you might believe about precognition, foreknowledge, prophecy, or “fortune telling,” there are well documented prophets and prophecies.

One such person, who lived and worked in the Victorian age, was Madame de Ferriem.

“Madame de Ferriem is the pseudonym for a lady, living in Berlin, who practiced prophecy at the end of the 1800s and early 1900s,” – From All About Heaven
Accessed Friday, August 22, 2014

Also from All About Heaven, “She predicted the liberation of Dreyfus a year and a half before he was actually freed. As early as 1898 she prophesied a period of bloody war for Germany.

“She foretold the frightful earthquake and volcanic eruption at Martinique, in which 40,000 lives were lost, three years before the event, correctly naming the year 1902 for the catastrophe.

“She pictured with startling detail, some six weeks before its occurrence, the wreck of the German school ship Gneisenau at Malaga in December, 1900

“And she described with considerable detail the electrically operated rigid, dirigible airship “crossing the Atlantic in forty-eight hours” at a time (in 1899) when people were still accustomed to speak of such possibilities much as they spoke of perpetual motion and squaring the circle. The dirigible would be built and completely developed, she declared, before 1950.

“Her prophecies were published by a man called Godefroy and a Dr. Bormann acted as a witness on a number of occasions.”

In his awesome book, Here Mr. Splitfoot (Viking 1971), Robert Somerlott said, “The German medium known professionally as Madame de Ferriem had a sudden and horrifying premonition during a sitting in Berlin in 1896. She saw a mining disaster in brief but vivid detail and gave a full description. The vision became recurrent, more bits and pieces were added to the picture, and her forecast was published in 1899. Skeptics momentarily stopped jeering when the tragedy occurred at Dux, Bohemia in 1900. Her prophecy tallied so closely with the details of the actual events that observers said it seemed an eyewitness account.

“Also in 1899, the psychic lady predicted a major fire on the New York waterfront, and again her picture was detailed. The New York Herald…published the prognostication in the issue of April 25, 1899. There was consternation the following year when on June 30, 1900, the docks blazed as if on cue…

Pictured below is the New York fire of 1900:


“An island in the West Indies, she said, would be blasted by volcanic eruption and earthquake in 1902. She was right; the island was Martinique.”

She also “cheerfully and correctly predicted the year of Alfred Dreyfus’s liberation at a time when his cause seemed hopeless.”

If Madame de Ferriem was the only accurate prognosticator of the past one might easily side step the uncomfortable gift of precognition but she is not the only one. In fact humanity has enjoyed poking fun or more severely damaging her prophets in every generation since the dawn of recorded history to the present time.

The story of Madame de Ferriem is certainly something to ponder.

Much love,

Book Review: Katrina and Elishia Learn About Ouija Boards by Geraldine M. Paulette Bennett

kat and el learn

Yes this is a children’s book, meaning it was written with children in mind.
I can hear you groan.

You might be tempted to pass it by because it was written for children.

Please don’t.

This book contains some of the best instruction on the practical use of the Ouija board I have found anywhere.

The book tells the story of Katrina and Elishia, and of their grandmother who patiently instructs them on the use of the board and on some potential hazards and what to do about them if they occur. There is dialogue and the “lessons” are in the context of story.

Granny tells the girls that she herself doesn’t generally use the board because the board is, “just a way of visualizing what you can hear or see on your own,” and I believe this is true but while it is a common criticism of board use among proficient mediums it is also the strength of the board.

If a medium tells you she sees your deceased aunt and describes her perfectly you are convinced (at least some people are). But what if two blindfolded sitters at a board with scrambled letters produce the same description and a message to follow that contains information only you and your aunt know and what if this session is video recorded.

I may be exaggerating but I am doing so for effect.
The strength of the board lies in its physicality, there is an objectivity about it that you don’t find from other forms of mediumship and that is what I see as the boards, so far, untapped potential.

But I digress.

I am supposed to be reviewing the book not speculating about the board’s potential.

The girls want to use the board so their grandmother is going to teach them the best way.
How many grandmothers would simply forbid the use of the board?
Not this one, she uses the opportunity to teach her granddaughters about spirit contact and best practices where spirit contact is concerned.

She tells them, “whatever kinds of thoughts you think in your mind, those are the thing that you will bring into your life,” good advice not only for board use but for life in general.

Grandmother goes on to teach the girls about choice and the power they have in choosing their emotional states. They have the power to allow or not allow any emotion, any feeling, and any entity to influence them. In many ways this is lesson number one: you have the power, you are in control.

As the book progresses we experience an Ouija séance with the girls under the watchful coaching eye of their much more experienced grandmother.

The book is as entertaining as it is informative.
I highly recommend it even if you are a grandmother.
Much love,


Forest Temple

   Posted by: David    in Uncategorized

Forest Temple

From The Lily Dale Assembly web site
Accessed Saturday, August 09, 2014

“The Forest Temple, located on East Street, is an area of tranquility. It is here that messages from Spirit are delivered through mediums that are registered on the grounds as well as those who are visiting or are students. The Temple has been operating since 1894.

“Like Inspiration Stump, Forest Temple is an area of spiritual, emotional and mental upliftment. Services are held at the Forest Temple daily at 4:00pm.”

Below is an image of the Forest Temple in the 1890s:

049Forest Temple

Below is an image I took of the Forest Temple during my visit to Lily Dale:


I had heard that it rains in Lily Dale but during my stay the weather could not have been better.
The sky was always blue, the air was cool, and there was no humidity to speak of.

Walking around outside was pleasant and comfortable which was a good thing since two of Lily Dale’s primary meeting places – Inspiration Stump and the Forest Temple are under the cover of trees alone and their main meeting hall has only a roof but open sides.

In terms of my own mediumship, the best place to meet with loved ones on the other side, for me, is my backyard. It is wooded, there is a canopy of branches over my porch, it is quiet, and as I sit in stillness and meditation, I don’t have to wait long before now familiar spirit friends and family make their presence known to me. So it is but more so at Inspiration Stump and the Forest Temple.

The Forest Temple is more “in town,” less secluded than inspiration stump and that sense of vortex that is so palpable at Inspiration Stump is not quite as pronounced at the Forest Temple.

I saw many fine mediums at the Forest Temple.
Most of the mediums of Lily Dale are in their fifties or older but there was one young medium ministering at the Forest Temple.
She was in her mid-twenties and she was full of life and enthusiasm.
Her skill was impressive as well.

I ran into her after the service at the town coffee shop she gave me her story.
She is a medium in training.
Part of her training included public mediumship at Lily Dale.
She was being evaluated.
Licensing as a medium is a process not unlike becoming an attorney or a doctor.
There is a period of study and apprenticeship followed by a time of evaluation and coaching.
I was impressed with her and encouraged that a new generation of mediums is up and coming in Lily Dale.

Though the atmosphere at Forest Temple was considerably different from Inspiration Stump, the messages were no less precise, specific, and meaningful to the recipients.

Much love,


Tarot Spreads

   Posted by: David    in Uncategorized

Tarot Spreads

If I wrote a book on the subject of tarot spreads I could not possibly cover all of the spreads that are commonly used. If I wrote an entire book on the Celtic Cross Spread alone I doubt I could do it justice.

My purpose in writing then is not to offer a dozen spreads, or to train you to use spreads, but instead to suggest my own approach to spreads and how I use them.

I typically use the same two or three spreads over and over when reading for others but when I read for myself I love a little variety. I have never seen so many unusual and fun spreads as those I found in the companion handbook to The Wizard’s Tarot. There are dozens of highly unique spreads in the book so if you like variety or if you like to experiment I highly recommend it. Click here for more information on The Wizard’s Tarot.

Most tarot decks come with at least a basic explanation of the Celtic Cross Spread, arguably the most popular spread. I do like it and I do use it but I have found that the more cards I use the less I rely on my intuition and the more mechanical the reading becomes so I favor spreads with fewer cards.

The Celtic Cross Spread, as generally taught, is at least a ten card spread and I have seen Celtic Cross style spreads that go up to twenty cards. If you are going to do justice to each card and how the cards relate to each other you will be reading for a very long time. Therefore, it is a spread I use when I have an abundance of time but it is not my “usual” spread.

One Saturday morning I did eight readings in a row.
If I had been doing Celtic Cross Spreads for all eight, I would have been reading for a week.

For your reference I have created a Celtic Cross Spread.
The “meanings” I associate with the card positons are on the chart.
The meanings I have suggested on my chart are common meanings but still my own.
You may find differences of opinion or you may have a different opinion. That’s fine. That is what tarot and magic in general is all about – finding what works for you.

Please see my chart below.
If you click on it, it will open larger in another window.

celtic cross spread

In the Celtic Cross Spread as in any spread, cards can be added for clarification.
For instance, the tenth card in the Celtic Spread – the card at the upper right – is suggestive of the future outcome. What if your sitter asks, “How do I know this will happen?”
Lay a card down to the left of the tenth card.
That card will shed light on the tenth and address the sitter’s question.

This procedure can be followed for any card in any spread where you are uncertain of the meaning or where you want more information, simply lay another card or two around the card that requires more explanation.

In any spread, intention is everything.

You should make your intention clear as you handle the cards.
As you mix them, visualize the spread you will use and what each card will signify.
In this way you will communicate your intention to the “universe” (for lack of a better term), or God if you are of a faith that believes in a personal God.

If the sitter has a specific question, ask that question of the cards as you mix and before you lay a single card on the table.

Those who practice divination typically but not always believe that everything is connected to everything else.
The creation in which we live and breathe and have our being is alive and intelligent.

If you communicate your intention, the universe will respond in an intelligent way by guiding and directing your spread as well as your interpretation of the spread.
That is the short story of how and why tarot or any other form of divination works.

When you apply to be a reader for the American Tarot Association they mentor you and require that you learn as much as possible from single card readings. I enjoyed this approach so much that I still use much of what I learned in that program.

There is more information in a single card than most readers get from a ten or twenty card spread. Learning to read a single card for all of its worth has tremendous value as a prerequisite to learning more complex spreads. In a latter entry I may delve into how to do this but for now I wanted to address the issue of spreads – the number, sequence or pattern that the cards are laid down and read.

The first spread I learned and still my favorite is the three card spread.

You lay the middle card down first.
This card will speak to you about your sitter’s present situation.

It is vital that you look into that card with your intuition and remain open to messages that may not originate in the card. Remember you are the oracle the cards are only your tool.

Once you have mined that first card for all of its worth, lay the second down to the left of the first. This card will speak to you of the sitter’s recent past and more particularly how that recent past has influenced the present situation.

The third card of the three card spread is laid to the right of the first.
This card will speak to you about the sitter’s near future.
It sheds light on the path that the sitter is currently choosing to follow.
I personally do not see cards that suggest future outcomes as deterministic but rather suggestive of what the future holds assuming no change of direction is selected.

The three card spread is still my favorite.
I might add cards over one or all of the three for clarification.
I might use a crossing card as in the Celtic Cross Spread if I sense that something is hindering or blocking my sitter.

My three card readings are typically 20 to 30 minutes in duration, to give you some idea of the detail I can get from three cards.

I hope this little bite sized article on spreads has inspired you to think about how you do your own spreads.

There are no rules.
There is only what works for you and what does not.
Keep careful records and keep doing what works.

Much love,