Llewellyn Worldwide, Ltd.
View your shopping cart Shopping Cart | My Account | Help | Become a Fan on Facebook Become a Fan | Follow Us on Twitter Follow Us | Watch Us on YouTube Watch Us | Subscribe to our RSS Feeds Subscribe
Browse ProductsAuthorsArticlesBlogsEncyclopediaNewslettersAffiliate ProgramContact UsBooksellers
Advanced Search
LLEWELLYN JOURNAL
Article Topics
List of Articles
RSS Data Feeds
Mission Statement
Use of Our Articles
Writers' Guidelines

Email Exclusives
Sign up to receive special offers and promotions from Llewellyn.

Get the Latest Issue of New Worlds

September/October Issue

New Worlds Catalog

Get the FREE app for your tablet and mobile device. Now available in the iTunes Store and the Google Play Store

Also available as a PDF File.

Click for more information about New Worlds or to receive issues via mail.


The Llewellyn Journal
Print this Article Print this Article

Table-Tilting

This article was written by Brian Righi
posted under Paranormal Phenomena

Also known as typtology, table tilting is the phenomenon that occurs when a spirit moves, shakes, or rattles a table as a sign of its presence. Also an early form of spirit communication, its first description is handed down to us by Ammianus Marcellinus in fourth-century Rome. Marcellinus describes a table cut from a large slab of stone, upon which were engraved the letters of the alphabet. Above the table, a cord was suspended, at the end of which hung a metal ring. Questions were posed to the spirits and the answer would be spelled out as the ring swung to the letters on the table.

Table tilting in its modern form sprang into use after the “Rochester knockings,” much the same as spirit rapping did. Part of its popularity rested on the fact that anyone with a table could do it without the need for a professional and sometimes expensive medium. People would gather in the parlor and seat themselves around a small table. After the lights had been dimmed to make the room more inviting for spirits, the sitters would place the palms of their hands lightly on the table’s surface. A question would be asked of the spirits, who would rattle the table in response. Sometimes the answers would come as mere tremors in the table, while at other times it would bang about violently or even levitate off the floor.

Table tilting became so popular in its heyday that doctors and scientists thought the craze dangerous to the public's mental health. In reaction, a committee was formed to study the fad, which it reported on in the Medical Times and Gazette on June 11, 1853. After heated debate, the committee's findings concluded that table tilting was due to the unconscious muscular activity of the sitters and not to any real spiritual presence. Scientist Michael Faraday tested sitters by placing their hands atop a flat surface, which rested on metal rollers. Any unconscious movements by the muscles in the palms of the hands could then be detected by the table’s movement and measured. Not to be outdone by the scientific community, the church also rallied against table tilting, claiming it to be the work of Satan.

From Ghosts, Apparitions and Poltergeists, by Brian Righi

Brian Righi
Brian Righi has been interested in psychic phenomena since he was a child and first began to chronicle the folklore of vampires while hiking through Eastern Europe. A member of the Dallas/Fort Worth Ghost Hunters, he gives lectures and investigates claims...  Read more

RELATED PRODUCTS

The Ghost Hunter's Field Guide
The Ghost Hunter's Field Guide
Over 1000 Haunted Places You Can Experience
Rich Newman
$17.95 US,  $20.95 CAN | Add to Cart
Ghosts of the McBride House
Ghosts of the McBride House
A True Haunting
Cecilia Back
$14.95 US,  $16.95 CAN
$11.96 US,  $13.56 CAN On Sale! | Add to Cart
Ghosts, Apparitions and Poltergeists
Ghosts, Apparitions and Poltergeists
An Exploration of the Supernatural through History
Brian Righi
$15.95 US,  $18.50 CAN
$7.98 US,  $9.25 CAN On Sale! | Add to Cart

Please note that the use of Llewellyn Journal articles
is subject to certain Terms and Conditions

I am often asked how I catch some of the most incredible evidence ever captured on a battlefield. It is relatively simple, but many people are not willing to do what is necessary to capture a paranormal event. If, however, you are one of those rare individuals who not only want to experience the paranormal, but capture it—read on! As a means of... read this article
Gettysburg: Beyond a Shadow of a Doubt
Celtic Tree Magic: 6 Ways to Work with Sacred Trees
Ritual: Thelemic Refuge
The Dark Side of Your Moon
3 Ways (Yoga Included!) To Shift Your Body Image

Most recent posts:
Lost Souls
Readers, please enjoy this guest blog post by Patrick Burke, co-author of the new Ghost Soldiers of Gettysburg. As an expert on battlefield and...

Samhain Thoughts...
Readers, please enjoy this guest blog post by Sonja Sadovsky, author of the new Priestess and the Pen. The wheel turns, and another Samhain is...

Empowering Readings, part 1
When someone asks “what if” they are usually worried about the outcome of something they are considering doing. They may be looking for assurances...





Llewellyn's 2015 Astrological Calendar Llewellyn's 2015 Astrological Calendar
82nd Edition of the World's Best Known, Most Trusted Astrology Calendar

By: Llewellyn
Price: $14.99 US,  $16.99 CAN
Llewellyn's 2015 Witches' Datebook Llewellyn's 2015 Witches' Datebook
By: Llewellyn
Price: $10.99 US,  $12.50 CAN
Llewellyn's 2015 Witches' Calendar Llewellyn's 2015 Witches' Calendar
By: Llewellyn
Price: $13.99 US,  $15.95 CAN
Llewellyn's 2015 Daily Planetary Guide Llewellyn's 2015 Daily Planetary Guide
Complete Astrology At-A-Glance

By: Llewellyn
Price: $12.99 US,  $14.95 CAN
Llewellyn's 2015 Moon Sign Book Llewellyn's 2015 Moon Sign Book
Conscious Living by the Cycles of the Moon

By: Llewellyn
Price: $11.99 US,  $13.95 CAN