This section is from the book "A Book Written By The Spirits Of The So-Called Dead", by Carl Gustaf Helleberg. Also available from Amazon: A Book Written by the Spirits of the So-Called Dead.
" On another occasion I saw a fire raging. I saw it was a two-story brick house. I saw men rolling barrels out of the burning structure, and from the rapidity of their movements and the ease and facility with which the barrels seemed to be handled and propelled along, I concluded they were empty and so expressed myself. My husband inquired, * Where is the fire at ?' I placed myself in as passive a state as possible, but could get no answer. The questions were then asked: ' Is it Louisville ?' 'No.' ' Is it Jeffer-sonville?' 'No.' 'New Albany?' 'No.' 'Indianapolis?'- 'Yes.' These answers respectively I saw written in the air or what appeared so to me. On that night, as we learned by the papers subsequently, a large barrel factory at Indianapolis was destroyed by fire.
" I will now relate one of a more startling nature and of more recent occurrence. The ill-fated steamer Pat Rogers was at the time of her destruction in the mail line service, and plied between Cincinnati, Ohio, and Louisville, Kentucky. She left port Louisville for Cincinnati at 2 p. m. At 4 o'clock, same afternoon, and two hours after her departure from Louisville, and nine or ten hours before the terrible casualty, I saw written in the air, ' Steamboat disaster to-night.' My husband remarked: * See if you can not get the name of the boat.' Presently I saw plainly the name Pat Rogers, which was immediately followed by presenting the whole vision, the conflagration, and passengers struggling for life amid the angry and turbulent waves.
" I might narrate many more instances of this kind that belong to my individual experience, and volumes might be written if similar experiences of others should be included.
" I come now to speak of my present powers and their development. When my husband had entered upon his second term as Mayor of the city of Aurora, he built us a home in a high altitude on a hillside overlooking the beautiful city in the valley below. Here in the purer atmosphere with quiet surroundings were my present powers brought forth by a noble and trusty band of spirits whom I shall never cease to love for their fidelity to me and to truth, and for their ability and unceasing and intelligent efforts to advance the great and blessed cause of spiritualism.
My dear spirit sister, Alice Vernette Winesburgh nee Shirley, who, in her day, was a marvelous physical medium, has been and still is the active controlling spirit of my band, with others great and good, who sustain and aid her. She always signs her name simply Nettie, by which she was called and known in earth life. She has clung to me with the true devotion of a sister, and has sustained herself in the position assigned her by the band with signal fidelity and ability. I shall speak more of this band toward the close.
"In obedience to the request of the spirits we formed a circle for development, and found two gentlemen and their wives who were sufficiently liberal, and who had natural tendencies toward a belief in spiritualism. They agreed and we met twice each week, and it was not long before we discovered that power for physical manifestations was being developed. We sat in the dark around an ordinary plain stand, on which was placed a slate and pencil, a small bell, and a paper horn. We also would place on it a goblet filled with water. The manifestations began by the stand moving around and tipping. This phenomenon soon occurred in the light, and by means of it we at first were directed and instructed, using the alphabet in spelling out words. We met regularly and sat patiently. For a few months the development was slow but surely indicated progress, and the invisible operators continually exhorted us to patience, promising certain results from time to time, which they invariably performed. They stated to us what may not be generally known, namely, that all developments with a view to permanence are slow, advancing cautiously, step by step, leaving nothing neglected or uncared for. Besides the health and well being of the medium should be carefully guarded and too oft by hurrying forward the development ruinous consequences resulted to the instrument and the success of the mediumship. We soon noted the fact that we were in the hands of careful, prudent, and able spirits, and we therefore implicitly obeyed their directions, and have never since had any occasion to regret it. Finally the bell began to ring, and the various members of the circle were touched by material-ized spirit hands. Also, names and words were written on the slate and occasionally materialized locks of hair would be found on the stand upon closing the seance, which, in a few hours, would wholly demate-rialize. This indicated materialization of spirit forms and was so announced to us. The next step was whispering to us through the paper trumpet, and by that means they were now enabled to give directions. After the lapse of about twelve months we were directed to procure a curtain for materialization, which we accordingly did, but before this the manifestations in the dark had become simply remarkable, not to say extraordinary. On putting up the curtain and taking my position behind it, several sittings passed without any appreciable result, until finally faces were discovered protruding from behind and above the curtain, two or three at a time, and after this it was not long until full form materializations were obtained. Upon the expiration of my husband's term of office, the band insisted that we should move to Cincinnati, if only for a year, assigning as the important reason, that they would be enabled there to collect and appropriate new elements necessary in the completion of the development. We had by this time learned that the wisest thing was to obey, and consequently in July, 1881, we moved to the Queen City. Soon after we got there the band concluded to abandon for the time being any further attempt to perfect the phase of materialization and demanded a tin trumpet, which was made according to their directions. In length, thirty-eight inches; at large end, four and one-half inches in diameter, and at the small opening one-half inch; and we commenced holding trumpet seances with amazing and astonishing results. Hundreds of the best citizens of Cincinnati can testify to the wonders of the trumpet circle in my presence. One seance written up Judge A. G. W. Carter, of Cincinnati, I here insert as illustrating partially only the magnitude of this power. It appeared in that excellent paper, Mind and Matter, of Philadelphia: