Both trumpets and slates are used in channeling spirits.
Spirit trumpets resembled the old ear trumpets used at one point tried the aged and nearly deaf. They were often used during séances. The chosen trumpet was free to float around the darkened room where everybody gathered for the séance. Often, luminous ribbons were attached to the trumpet so that it could be clearly seen. During the séance, spurred voices would come through the trumpet.
These trumpets were sometimes used to trick innocents into believing the spirits were speaking. Those holding a séance would sometimes request that the medium’s hands would be tied up or otherwise controlled to prevent trickery. If the medium was free to use his or her hands, the trumpet could be easily moved around the room. An attached rubber tube allowed the medium to speak through the trumpet without being caught.
Some mediums would use a luminous band at the end of a telescoping rod to mimic the trumpet. Those watching would believe that spirit voices emanated from the trumpet; however, this was nothing more than showmanship and misdirection. After all, it is not always easy to determine from which direction the sound is coming. Should the medium be controlled, he would either free one hand or use a secret, black-clad assistant.
Many Christians believe that a trumpet will sound at the end of time. Revelations advises us of the opening of seven seals and the blast of seven trumpets.
For hundreds of years, students have used slates to practice their handwriting in the days when paper was expensive and difficult to find. Perhaps it is no surprise then that these slates would be used for divination.
Typically, the medium would use two slates — usually these were separate, although some were hinged together. Once the medium had invoked the spirits, the slates would be left on a table, along with chalk or a slate pencil. After a period of time, the slates would magically contain mysterious writing that was believed to have come from the spirits.
To prevent trickery, the slates were often bound together. After they were bound, they might be locked together. While this supposedly offered some protection, in reality there were ways to get around these problems. Unscrupulous diviners would use special slates, complete with gadgets that made it easy for the diviner to add fraudulent information. At other times, the slates were replaced with others that were already prepared.