Elisabeth Blanchard Finds Spirit Images Everywhere


Mrs. E. M. Welch, “Extraordinary Development.  Spirit Pictures Obtained by a New Process,” Religio-Philosophical Journal, February 13, 1875:

I want to tell you of one of our most wonderful mediums, Mrs. [Elisabeth M.] Blanchard, of New Ulm.  First, to describe the lady: A small, slight delicate woman, about 33 or 35 years of age, who has been an invalid from childhood, and can never hope to perfectly recover in this life.  She has been mediumistic ever since she can remember, although she knew not what it meant.  About three years ago she became a medium, in whose presence the spirits could write their own communications.  She placed the slate or paper and pencil on a table and retired to the further side of the room.  Sometimes she saw the spirit go to it and write; at other times she saw the hand while writing.  She soon began to see pictures coming out on the walls of her sleeping room, or rather she saw them after they came out.  The room was wonderful, containing pictures in every variety and style.  They are shaded as if dust were on the wall, and where it has been scraped, the shading is found to penetrate to the depth of the plaster.  To describe some of these pictures: One is apparently a death-bed scene; a young woman lies as if dead, with an infant on her arm, two women standing by the bedside weeping, and spirit faces rising face above face—myriads of them—apparently watching the scene.  Another is an oval—three laughing boys—two standing, the third lying before them on the grass, resting on his elbows.

The picture of


is near the entrance of the stove-pipe into the wall.  A little smoke has discolored the wall which is skillfully managed in the drapery of the bust.  It is all very perfect.  Another is the head of a woman


The spirits directed them to get a magnifying glass, and upon examining the picture, it was seen that the head was surrounded by faces.  Every curl and wave seemed alive with human laughing faces.  These are but a few of the specimens.  The whole room is wonderful; the shading is perfect as an engraving.  She knows not how nor when they came.  They are there; every one can see them.  About a year ago a well-known gentleman of this city called to see this room, and other phenomena which had recently developed.  Water being placed in vessels, wash bowls, saucers, or any clear dish, she would touch it with her finger tips; the sediments would precipitate and form exquisite


If allowed to evaporate the pictures became permanent.  I have one before me now.  The water was evaporated from a common saucer, and a photograph taken of the whole.  It is a gem, a chubby child-face, surrounded by wavy curling hair.  Upon looking through a glass the head is surrounded by other heads and faces, each perfect in itself, although too minute to be distinguished by the eye alone.  But to return to Mr.—.  While talking with Mrs. Blanchard, she called for a pencil, and began drawing with rapid motion.  She paid no attention to the movement, but continued the conversation.  In a few moments she pushed the paper to Mr.—, still not looking at it.  He found it was a perfect likeness of his


He had it photographed and his friends pronounced it an excellent likeness.  At that same sitting the spirits told Mrs. B. to shave a little lead from the pencil on a paper, and place them in an envelope or box and hold in her hand.  The paper was covered with perfect faces.  Since then she has taken the portraits of many spirits, also apparently come to her for that purpose.  She draws all of her pictures in the dark to make the test more perfect.  Her kind gentle heart will turn away no earnest seeker without trying to make the loved faces tangible to human eyes.  But she takes no money, nor seeks notoriety.  She is modest and unassuming, but perfectly devoted to the beautiful work the spirits have given her to do.

    St. Paul, Minn.


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