Historical Albion Michigan
By Frank Passic

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Any photos not otherwise credited are from the personal collection of Frank Passic, Albion Historian.


Morning Star, October 20, 1996, pg. 4

In the Sunday, September 29, 1996 issue of the Detroit News, page 4-A, there was an article by Robin McKie of the London Observer entitled, “For Darwin, Psychics were Species Mankind Could Live Without.” The gist of the article was that Charles Darwin hated psychics and detested spiritualists. Darwin apparently launched an anti-psychic campaign, assisted by his son George, the biologist Thomas Huxley and Huxley’s assistant, Edwain Lankester.

Why am I writing about this in this column? Toward the end of the article, it mentions an article by science historian Richard Milner, published in a recent issue of Scientific American, where it mentions that Huxley, George Darwin, and Lankester attended séances to expose them. The article further mentions that in April, 1876, Lankester (later the director of London’s Natural History Museum) successfully exposed Henry Slade, who was famous world-wide for his slate writings which supposedly gave messages from his dead wife from the “other side.”

For those who are familiar with Albion history, Slade (1835-1905) was from Albion, and is buried in Riverside Cemetery. At one time he was worth $1 million as a result of the money he earned form his powers. In his 1908 “Biographical Sketches,” Dr. Elmore Palmer, who knew Slade, wrote, “When he was a mere child of 8 or 10 years old, he seemed possessed of strange powers and manifestations. When he was only 18years of age he could stand five feet from a table and cause it to tip over by a wave of his hand. He could hold his hand a few inches from the cottage organ and cause it to rise from the floor.

If you want to know more about Slade, you may wish to obtain a copy of Dr. Elmore Palmer’s “Biographical Sketches” at the Albion Chamber of Commerce. A great story to read during the month of October. From our Historical Notebook this week we present a photograph of Henry Slade, the world’s most famous slate writing medium, and his tombstone in Riverside Cemetery. You may wish to obtain a copy of the Scientific American and read the article by Richard Milner.

Henry Slade


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