Originally posted by David Alexander:
Study the methods of the old mediums who did not use Dr Q slates, but readily available school slates that everyone was familiar with back in those days. There are handlings that allow you to show and number all four sides and produce a message.
Al Baker had a handling for one slate to produce a message and Al Mann wrote several manuscripts on slate methods using tricked and untricked slates. Peter Warlock wrote a book....the literature of the Craft is filled with information. The "best" slate routine is one that fits your needs and personality.
I used four ungimmicked slates at a lecture at Cal Tech a few years ago, producing a message from Neils Bohr (with his signature) for his friend, Murray Gell-Mann, congratulating him on winning the Nobel Prize and apologizing that it had taken him so long to get through. Murry later told me if I could do that for real, he'd get another Nobel. I said, "What do you mean 'you'?"
The old mediums knew that they had to have methods that would withstand "the grab," a sudden examination of their props by a curious or suspicious client. Four ungimmicked slates that are manipulated rather than gimmicked fit the bill.
Discount toy stores often sell real slates with slate from Portugal instead of metal that has been painted with slate paint. I bought a bunch of those years ago, removed the cheap plastic frames and had a friend make wood frames for them. Several pieces of slate were left without frames to act as flaps. I think the slates ran me about $2 each. Early Thayer Dr Q Slates were made of the real thing, flap as well. Everyone elses today seems to be made of painted metal.
Good points, David. In our "Cross Creek Graveyard Seance", I use ungimmicked slates that are totally examinable after the effect. Before, too, if there is a bit of time. Check the book "Turning Thoughts To Gold" by Alexander Thomas for excellent and deceptive slate moves with ugimmicked slates. You apparently show all four sides blank.