Archive for spiritualism

Table Tipping

Posted in paranormal powers with tags , , , , , , , , on June 5, 2008 by youtubeskeptic

I decided to do a table tipping entry due to the fact that I signed up to attend a seance this weekend,which will be including table tipping. I’ve decided that it would be interesting,to say the least,to start going to local paranormal events or classes to experience them first hand.A couple months ago I attended a ghost hunting “class” which was…..well,interesting. I took a look around on Meetup.com and found a local paranormal “investigation” group that is having a table tipping seance to contact spirits that they are sure are present due to numerous “investigations” they had done in the location.

Table tipping is one of the ways spirits are supposed to be able to make contact with the living,and originated when the modern spiritualism movement really started to take off in the early 1850’s.A group of people either sit or stand around a table and place their hands on the table near the edge,which are to be used as a conduit for spirit energy to move the table about,tip it,or even cause the table to levitate. Proponents of the method claim that all members in the session are not moving the table with their hands and that the hands of the participants are barely touching the table making it impossible for them to move the table through regular means such as pushing. Count de Gasparin and Professor Marc Thury of Geneva,concluded after their investigation into the phenomenon,that a force they called the “ectenic force” -a spiritual energy emitted by the spiritualist medium- was responsible.

I choose this video in particular because the person posting it claimed that it was a “controlled test” of table tipping that was being conducted. I found this a little strange as it looks no different from the multitude of other table tipping videos I could have chosen from,so one wonders exactly what controls are supposedly being applied to the participants.

One of the first controlled tests to eliminate the question of weather people were moving the table with their fingers,was conducted by Michael Faraday,who was made famous by his discovery of electro magnetism. Faraday’s simple device was two boards with glass rollers between them,held together with rubber bands. The ability of the spirits to move the table disappeared when this device was used and it was showed that it was the hands of the mediums or participants moving the table. While some might rationalize that the hands must be on the table surface and not on the device for the table to tip,there is also other controls that can be applied. James Randi has conducted many tests of table tippers and applied controls such as just placing wax paper under the finger tips of participants which will simple slide along the table if a directional force is applied. This is also used in conjuncture with placing the hands away from the edges of the table and toward the middle of the table making tipping due to downward pressure impossible.One must also take into account that many table tippers have also used their feet and legs to tip or levitate tables,so having participants sit in a chair with their feet down by the back legs of the chair helps to eliminate the leg and feet factor. To no ones surprise,table tippers also lost their abilities to move or levitate tables when such controls were applied.

In the video I see a small table that one might use to eat in front of the TV,which wouldn’t exactly take a whole lot of effort to move.The legs of the table are of the type that they cross,which is far more susceptible to downward manipulation as opposed to a table where the four legs come directly down from each corner.Also the hands are not in the lightly touching finger tips,propped up position that proponents will usually claim was used. Instead,everyones hands are almost laying down flat on the table,making it much easier to push or pull the table in any particular direction.

So,one can reasonable conclude that table tipping is not a true phenomenon and that it is either purposeful trickery of a dubious medium or participant,or that it is a result of the ideomotor effect;where ones muscles move subconsciously when the movement is an expected one.All the corroborative evidence points to it;exposed as trickery directly from the start and the inability for it to occur when simple controls are applied.Still,in spite of the evidence,one can never take away the need to believe,by some,in such things.