Automatic writing

Automatic writing is the process, or product, of writing material that does not come from the conscious thoughts of the writer. Practitioners say that the writer's hand forms the message, with the person being unaware of what will be written. In some cases, it is done by people in a trance state. Other times the writer is aware (not in a trance) of their surroundings but not of the actions of their writing hand.


George (Georgie) Hyde-Lees, the wife of William Butler Yeats, said that she could write automatically. In 1975 Wendy Hart of Maidenhead said that she wrote automatically about Nicholas Moore, a sea captain who died during 1642. Her husband did research on Moore, and he said that this person had resided at St Columb Major in Cornwall during the Civil war.


Skeptics such as James Randi note that there is little evidence distinguishing automatic writing claimed to be of supernatural origins from a parlor game that is little more than sparks of creativity in the minds of the participants.

A 1998 article in Psychological Science described a series of experiments designed to determine people who believed in the ideomotor effect could be shown that it was not true. The paper indicated that "our attempt to introduce doubt about the validity of automatic writing did not succeed." The paper noted that "including information about the controversy surrounding facilitated communication did not affect self-efficacy ratings, nor did it affect the number of responses that were produced. In this sense, illusory facilitation appears to be a very robust phenomenon, not unlike illusory correlation, which is not reversed by warning participants about the phenomenon. 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 has a strong resemblance to Ms. Smith's native language of French. Flournoy concluded 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. "Skeptics consider automatic writing to be little more than a parlor game, although sometimes useful for self-discovery and for getting started on a writing project."

See also


  • 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
  • Meditation Oneness. Subtitled "How to Link with Angels." Is now being called The Medium's Bible, ISBN 978-09554590-0-9. A very comprehensive book about all aspects of Spiritualism and how it is done. Written by DRT Keeghan.
  • Beyond the Horizon by Grace Rosher. 1961. Published for the church's Fellowship for Psychical Study by James Clarke & Co. Ltd. ISBN 0-227-67412-X
  • Swan on a Black Sea by Geraldine Cummins printed by Redwood Press, Trowbridge & London ISBN 0-710-01243-8
  • A Search for the Truth by Ruth Montgomery published by Random House ISBN 978-0-449-21085-7

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