|Sturmberg Planchette illustration, from 1876's Life Beyond the Grave.|
"In myself I failed to develop the least trace of mediumship, either through table turning or planchette writing, until the summer of 1874, when I accidentally came in contact with an American medium who was reputed to have the power of developing mediumship in others. This person mesmerised my hand and arm—she never succeeded in mesmerising the brain— and the result was, that when I placed my hand on planchette I felt a dragging motion in the instrument, as if some invisible power were gently drawing it over the surface of the paper, uncontrolled by me."
Thankfully for most users, professional mesmerism of one's limbs was not a usual prerequisite for planchette use, but we're glad this medium--a student of the developing medium Mrs. Woodforde--found her way. Unfortunately, what begins as a ringing endorsement for the planchette is quickly abandoned, as the medium writes:
"I soon found the planchette was an impediment rather than an advantage to my progress as a writing medium, and that I could get on much more rapidly by simply holding the pencil in the hand and keeping the mind and the muscles of the arm perfectly passive."
But, planchette-scripted or not, the book's contents are not our subject--that would be the advertised 'little plank': the Sturmberg.
|The full Life Beyond the Grave ad, 1876.|
|Sturmberg Planchette Ad, The Medium & Daybreak, 1876.|
The planchette was available in 4 models: two full-size offerings in both high-grade finish and common grade, a "second size," and an intended-for-one-hand-use "small size." It had normal pantograph castors as was common for the planchettes of the period, and its closest relatives seems to be the Jaques & Son planchettes, or perhaps exceptionally similar Page & Co offerings, given its traditional blunt-nosed, flat-back design so indicative of British planks.
|The likeliest contender: note routed outer ridge.|
|1895 Sturmberg solicitation.|
|Sturmberg ad from 1886's The Philosophy of Mesmerism and Electrical Psychology.|
It is, in consequence of this foolish notion, that many persons give up communicating through planchette, on the assumption that it is diabolical; because, having asked foolish questions, they have induced foolish replies.