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Henry Slade

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Henry Slade
BornMarch 16, 1836
Johnson Creek, New York
DiedSeptember 8, 1905 (age 69)
Resting placeRiverside Cemetery at Albion, Michigan (Block 22, Lot 19)

Henry Slade (1835-1905) was born in Johnson Creek, New York. He went by the name "Dr." Slade (although there has been no legitimate claim to that title) was one of the most colorful psychic mediums of his period. Slade claimed that his dead wife wrote him messages from "the Other Side."


He was credited (in the spiritualist publication, THE MEDIUM AND DAYBREAK, October 8, 1876) with discovering the phenomenon of spirit Slate Writing at the home of Mr. Gardiner Knapp of New Albany, Indiana, in the 1860s.

Slade was able to write messages with minute pieces of chalk in the fingers of either hand (Nail Writing, with the toes of either foot and in his mouth. It was said he could mirror-write backwards as fast as one could dictate to him.

He lived in Michigan in 1860, later moving to New York. He achieved his greatest success after moving to London in July of 1876 on his way to Russia. He publicly offered a reward of $1,000 dollars to anyone who could prove that slate writing, as presented by him, was the result of trickery. However, Dr. Slade was exposed and more than once. Slade was exposed by biologist Edwin Lankester in England in 1876. Charles Darwin congratulated Lankester on exposing Slade. He received an initial harsh sentence. But the case was appealed and later dismissed. Slade quickly returned to the U.S.. But he was exposed yet again, this time by Remigius Weiss. Weiss caught Slade in the act and forced him to sign a confession of trickery.

Slade visited Australia, where his activities there were recorded in a book Rustlings in the Golden City by James Curtis (1894).

He amassed a fortune demonstrating his powers, estimated to be close to one million dollars, but lost it all and died in poverty. During the last years of his life Slade fell victim to alcohol addiction. In 1901, he was robbed and severely beaten in New York City, leaving partial paralysis of the right side of his body. Going into deep depression, he ending up at the Kellogg sanitarium at Battle Creek, Michigan.

The monument at his grave-site, erected by fellow spiritualists in Riverside Cemetery at Albion, Michigan states "Henry Slade, renowned throughout the world as the first spiritualist medium for the independent slate writing. Retired to spirit life September 8, 1905 after an earthly visit of 69 years, 5 months and 22 days. With toil now finished, with soul set free, he now enters eternity."