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Automatic writing or psychography is an alleged psychic ability allowing a person to produce written words without consciously writing. The words are claimed to arise from a subconscious, spiritual or supernatural source.
Automatic writing as a spiritual practice was reported by Hyppolyte Taine in the preface to the third edition of his "De l'intelligence", published in 1878. Besides "etherial visions" or "magnetic auras", Fernando Pessoa claimed to have experienced automatic writing. He said he felt "owned by something else", sometimes feeling a sensation in the right arm which he claimed was lifted into the air without his will. George Hyde-Lees, the wife of William Butler Yeats, also claimed that she could write automatically. In 1975, Wendy Hart of Maidenhead claimed that she wrote automatically about Nicholas Moore, a sea captain who died in 1642.
William Fletcher Barrett wrote that "Automatic messages may take place either by the writer passively holding a pencil on a sheet of paper, or by the planchette, or by a 'ouija board'." In spiritualism, spirits are claimed to take control of the hand of a medium to write messages, letters, and even entire books. Automatic writing can happen in a trance or waking state. Arthur Conan Doyle in his book The New Revelation (1918) wrote that automatic writing occurs either by the writer's subconscious or by external spirits operating through the writer. The Surrealist poet Robert Desnos claimed he was among the most gifted in automatic writing. Some psychical researchers such as Thomson Jay Hudson have claimed that no spirits are involved in automatic writing and that the subconscious mind is the explanation.
A 1998 article in Psychological Science described a series of experiments designed to determine whether people who believed in automatic writing could be shown that it might be the ideomotor effect.
Psychology professor Théodore Flournoy investigated the claim by 19th-century medium Hélène Smith (Catherine Müller) that she did automatic writing to convey messages from Mars in Martian language. Flournoy concluded that her "Martian" language had a strong resemblance to Ms. Smith's native language of French and that her automatic writing was "romances of the subliminal imagination, derived largely from forgotten sources (for example, books read as a child)." He invented the term cryptomnesia to describe this phenomenon.
|Wikisource has the text of the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica article Automatic Writing.|
- Artistic inspiration
- Asemic writing
- Automatic speech
- Jane Roberts
- Joseph Sieber Benner
- Matthew Manning
- List of topics characterized as pseudoscience
- Lewis Spence An Encyclopaedia of Occultism Dover Edition, 2003, p. 56
- Pessoa, Fernando (1999), Correspondência 1905-1922, Lisbon: Assírio & Alvim, pp. 214-219, ISBN 978-85-7164-916-3.
- Marjorie Elizabeth Howes, John S. Kelly The Cambridge Companion to W.B. Yeats 2006, p. 11
- Ivan Rabey's Book of St Columb (1979)
- William Fletcher Barrett On the Threshold of the Unseen Cambridge University Press, 2011, p. 162
- Dictionary Definition
- Arthur Conan Doyle The New Revelation 2010 Reprint Edition, p. 47
- Thomson Jay Hudson The Law of Psychic Phenomena Wildhern Press, 2009, p. 252
- Seth Speaks
- A Course in Miracles (1975)
- Conversations with God (1996)
- Sue Lim Good Spirits, Bad Spirits: How to Distinguish Between Them 2002, p. 82
- Psychological Science 9.1, January 1998
- Randi, James. An Encyclopedia of Claims, Frauds, and Hoaxes of the Occult and Supernatural (N.Y.: St. Martin's Press, 1995, page 22).
- William Benjamin Carpenter (March 12, 1852). On the influence of Suggestion in Modifying and directing Muscular Movement, independently of Volition. Retrieved 2011-03-02.
- Carroll, Robert Todd. "Automatic writing". The Skeptic's Dictionary. 2003. ISBN 0-471-27242-6.
- Randi, James. "Automatic writing". An Encyclopedia of Claims, Frauds, and Hoaxes of the Occult and Supernatural. 1995. ISBN 0-312-15119-5.
- "Automatic Writing". A Diary Through Spirit
- "Scientific American article". Houdini's Skeptical Advice: Just Because Something's Unexplained Doesn't Mean It's Supernatural By Michael Shermer, February 4, 2011
- ". Writing the Divine By Sara Wiseman
- "Padgett Messages". Spirit messages received by automatic writing through attorney/medium James E. Padgett by James Edward Padgett.