Automatic Writing

One link between the supernatural and writing is automatic writing. According to mediums throughout time, spirits are constantly trying to communicate with us. Automatic writing is writing allegedly directed by a spirit through a person's subconscious. Where did the concept "automatic writing" come from?

Automatic writing derived from the Spiritualist movement and made known by the Surrealists. Andre Breton, leader of the Surrealists, created the concept from Freud's theory of 'free association'. Freud developed this theory to uncover inaccessible memories. Breton believed automatic writing was the absence of critical intervention in writing. He also believed in a practice called Dedoublement where the mind and body separate. This concept would guarantee automatic writing is possible but it is only a theory. He went on to write a genuine automatic text called The Soluble Fish.

Mediums including Kate and Margarete Fox also helped develop automatic writing as a mainstream practice. After a séance involving a New York Supreme Court Judge named John Worth Edmonds, they gained public support from him. Helene Smith was said to have invented a Martian alphabet which she would translate to French. A famous American medium, Leonora Piper, felt her uncanny abilities came from a personality. Her medium abilities were considered the most authentic.

Spirits, of course, don't have a preference as to who they communicated with. Pearl Curran was an uneducated housewife from St. Louis who collaborated with a spirit named Patience Worth. Together they produced poems, books and plays. In England, Rosemary Brown, a widow with two children, composed musical compositions with a spirit named Franz Liszt. He introduced her to many famous composers including Bach, Chopin, and Mozart which led to more than 400 public performances.

Although automatic writing is more associated with the supernatural, it is also a technique used for writers block. For those who have ever suffered writers block, know how frustrating it can be. William Butler Yeats wife Georgie Hyde-Lee displayed her automatic writing techniques on their honeymoon. They combined their talents and wrote a book in 1925 entitled A Vision. A book about marriage therapy spiced with Occultism. Paul Bowles used automatic writing to find his way back to the written word after leaving it to pursue his taste in music. Want to try it for yourself?

This is the best method for a supernatural response: Find a nice quiet spot at a desk or table. Clear your mind completely. Touch your pen or pencil to paper and try not to write anything. Distract yourself by watching television or reading a book. Avoid looking at the paper as much as possible. Wait at least fifteen minutes to an hour before looking at the paper. Then, try to decipher what you have written. It may look like only scribble, but try finding words and letters or maybe pictures. You may even see messages from an unknown origin. I also caution you that some messages may be a bit disturbing. Don't attempt this if you're not prepared of the possible psychological dangers.

If you want an inspiration fix, this is the technique you should use: Sit at a table with a pen and some paper. Then, put yourself in a 'receptive' state of mind and start writing. Continue writing without concentrating on what your pen is producing and write as fast as you can. If you stop, leave a space and begin again by writing down the first letter of the next sentence. Choose a random letter and always use it for new sentences. Use this technique for as long as you feel is needed.

There are no guarantees that automatic writing will work for you. If you try it, your first couple of attempts may not be successful. Keep trying until something happens, or you get tired of it.

Skeptics believe automatic writing is nothing more than a parlor game to play at parties. They claim that those performing the writing influences their actions. The messages are coming only from the minds of the person holding the pencil. This is referred to as the ideomotor effect. Just the idea that it's possible to communicate with the dead is enough to make some people want to pursue it.


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