Long before the talking board there was the deceptive art of table rapping. Like most “paranormal” mystery that took place during the 1800’s and into the Victorian era. Table rapping was quite a popular and spectacular method to contact the dead. With enough hands a light table and polished floor, one could contact the most “active” of spirits”.
How table rapping is done
Table rapping is accomplished by the participants placing their hands upon the surface of the table. Round tables are typically most often used but really any light table will do. The participants are told not to move their hands, but to try and focus on contacting the spirit. This of course builds up an unconscious motivation, it’s much akin to being told not to think of a blue horse. In other words you can’t do it. This suggestion triggers unconscious muscle movements. The participants don’t know they are moving but they are. As the anticipation and showmanship of the seance increases so too does the movement of the table. Until finally you have a phantasmic moving table.
In an attempt to debunk table rapping an investigator in the 19th century decided to put table rapping to a test. The test was simple instead of the participants placing their hands directly on the table; they would place their hands directly upon a piece of glass that was cut to fit the table. Sure enough as the seance got under way it became the piece of glass that started shaking and not the table. However despite the obvious fakery of table rapping it’s success still amazes and mystifies people to this day.
It seems that no matter what the evidence, people will always want to believe in something mystical. It gives mankind a hope that there is something more to life than meet’s the eye. If this were not the case then Ouija boards the child of table rapping would not still be sold in stores today. After all what they eyes see and the ears hear the mind believes.