Automatic & Inspired Writing – Part 2


I, the author of this article, am speaking in terms of communications from the spirit world. In attempting to answer this question, my answer is subject to the scrutiny and opinions of others who may have accrued some knowledge on the subject. I won’t try to justify my answer with references to my experience or knowledge, but I will do so with complete truth and my understanding of the subject. I admit that my opinions will vary from that of other people. It is up to you the reader to seek your truth. All I can do is guide you along my path of understanding.


The Short Answer: Words and symbols for communication presented on a medium, such as paper, slate, glass, etc by another force other than the human hand or mechanic devices (see opening image for an example of such a device).

It’s worth understanding that writing created by forces other than from the hands of a living person on earth is extremely rare in modern times.  Authentic automatic writing of a communication from the spirit world must be free of any hands or devices involved in the process of production. In the purest sense, automatic writing is a physical communication that is absent of any intervention from a mind or controlling body.

Depiction of slate writing session during a seance


Many years ago I sat in a séance being held by physical medium Scott Milligan, in the library of The Arthur Findlay College. The scrutiny involved in such an event is rigorous. Everyone attending the séance takes instruction on the rules and conditions before the séance. These rules are strictly enforced. The room is in complete blackout conditions with every source of light being covered and removed, including fire alarm LEDs on the ceiling. It was an eerie energy, something I had never experienced, made dramatic by the complete lack of any light to help with my orientation of the room.

During the preparation of the event, many articles were placed in the middle of the floor for the benefit of those in spirit who may wish to use them. Instruments that make noises, bells, rattles, and even a toy piano. Also included was a plain sheet of paper and a pen. Everyone present could examine the items before the lights were turned out.

Once the séance began, nobody was allowed to move from their seats, and to ensure this rule, each person held the hands of the persons alongside them. The medium was strapped and taped securely to a chair, which was tested by the séance leader.

After the séance was over and the light was finally reintroduced to the room, nearly two hours later, the medium and the articles on the floor were examined. During the séance the forty people attending had all witnessed the presence of the spirit, playing with the toys and talking to us through an independent voice box produced by the spirit team for that occasion.

It was noted that the piece of paper in the middle of the floor, which had been blank at the commencement of the séance,  now had writing on it. It contained a written message.

A week or so before this event, the organist for the college, Ron, had passed to spirit and many were upset as he’d been with the college for many years.

The message on the paper was from Ron and although I cannot recall exactly the words, it read something along these lines.

“I am here safe and well. Thank you all. Love Ron”

For me, this was absolute evidence of automatic writing. I cannot declare it as 100% proof because the séance had taken place in absolute darkness, and therefore nobody present could see any activities happening in the room. 


Spiritualist & Trance Medium & Tutor Eileen Davies shared a story with me and other students. Her father had recently passed over and she was seeking validation that he was in the spirit world. One night after finishing reading on her iPad mini, she closed it and placed it on the bedside cabinet alongside her bed.

Again, for accuracy, I cannot recall the precise words that Eileen shared with us, but this is what she reported happened. The following morning, when she awoke, she opened her iPad and found the Notepad app was open. She did not know of such an app on the device. The page on the screen had a message.

“I am here safe and well. I love you. Dad”

For Eileen, this is about as close to evidence of automatic writing taking place as anyone could expect. She was completely unaware of having touched the device after she closed it the previous night. Again, of course, there are several possibilities as to how this message appeared and only Eileen can know those answers. But the fact remains that she received a message via words automatically on her device.


The subject of automatic writing has several beliefs of what is and what isn’t correctly considered automatic writing. Occasionally, some of the opinions we hear are from people that do not have a clear and concise knowledge of this subject. Some methods and instruments used for automatic writing are often argued as not being pure examples of automatic.
A search of the internet, with the term, “automatic writing”  will reveal many examples, mostly considered automatic writing, but actually not. Often they are merely examples of spirit-inspired writing. Sadly, the true art form of automatic writing has been diluted somewhat over time.
THE OUIJA BOARD: This is one of the oldest methods of spirit communication, where letters on a board are used to reveal messages and communications from an outside force.  No matter how pure the intent of those present, this form of communication remains under the heading of mental mediumship and is not physical, or automatic writing. There is human intervention, even if it’s believed not so. 

ALTERED STATE or TRANCE WRITING: This describes the writing that a medium might produce whilst in a deep trance – an altered state of mind. The words are sourced from the deep mind of the medium. Occasionally, it is reported that a person in spirit takes control of the scribe by moving the medium’s hand, paper, slate, or whatever instruments the medium is using. In terms of being accurate, this method is therefore not deemed as automatic writing, because the medium is still part of the equation. It is not physical mediumship either, it is mental mediumship. 

USE OF PLANCHETTE EQUIPMENT: (see opening diagram) It is only when there is no human involvement with the use of equipment, such as the planchette machine shown in the illustration, that it can be considered as automatic writing. Like the use of the Ouija board, the messages received using these forms of writing may be profound and of another source of life, but once a person becomes involved, the process is not pure automatic writing.


For these articles, I have gone to great lengths to determine what is and isn’t a true definition of automatic writing. However, the term ‘automatic writing’ has been loosely connected to other forms of inspired writing. I refer to it as Spirit-Inspired Writing.

Spirit -Inspired Writing is written communications composed by the medium while in an altered state of mind. I refer you to the spectrum graph again, and your first exercise you completed in the first part. Everyone that puts pen to paper immediately alters their focus as they concentrate on what they’re writing. They’ve therefore achieved an altered state of mind. (see also opening graphic in part 3)

When a medium sits with a pen and paper with the intent of receiving messages from the spirit world, the mind is prepared to accept the incoming words. Depending on the preparation the medium has undertaken before writing, the words are instilled into the medium’s conscious mind for them to write.


Courtesy of Spiritualist Historian and producer of 'The Pioneer' magazine, Paul Gaunt.


In the second part, we’ll learn what exactly Automatic writing is and how it differs from inspired or spirit writing.

Recent Articles



AI Symbol

When this symbol appears above an article, artificial intelligence has been used. Click the symbol above to read why and how you can rely on the information.


You must be logged in to leave comments.