Punch,  40 (1861), 2–3.

Self-Moving Furniture



Essay, Drollery


Spiritualism, Commerce, Technology, Religion

    Wonders why table-turners have not 'attempted to do something useful' with their practices. Distinguishes between these practitioners and the 'regular séance-holding professors of the art' who 'do their tricks and do their patrons', and who 'get a living by bringing up the dead'. Counting such 'shameless humbugs' with the 'sham prophets and sham doctors of our time', suggests that the 'amateur professors of the spiritualist faith' should use table-turning in the business of moving furniture. (2) Observes that 'when next we have occasion to change house [...] we shall be tempted to go through a scientific course of table-moving' and 'ascertain if furniture is capable of flitting automatically from Brompton (say) to Bayswater' (2–3). Emphasises the advantages of being able to instruct furniture on where to go, adding that were table-turning to be used in this way, then 'we should be among the last to sneer at spirit-moving'. Since furniture only moves 'needlessly' and spirits only rap out 'blasphemies', Punch refuses to give its 'adhesion to the spiritualist faith'. (3)

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