A funnel-shaped device of cardboard, aluminum, or other
lightweight material used at Spiritualist séances for the manifestation
of direct voice communication from spirits. Jonathan
Koons, the nineteenth-century American farmer medium, appears
to have been the first to use a trumpet.
Spiritualists have suggested the trumpet serves as a condenser
of psychic energy and increases the volume of the spirit
voice. Reportedly, weak or inexperienced spirits often have to
use the trumpet. It is seldom necessary for a spirit guide. Some
mediums also wet the trumpet with water, in the belief this facilitates
the phenomena.
The trumpet is usually coated with a marking of luminous
paint. Supposedly at séances in dark rooms the trumpet is seen
levitating when there is sufficient psychic force and moving
around the circle, conveying personal messages to individual
Reportedly as a safeguard against fraud, psychical researchers
have devised techniques and apparatus to attempt to exclude
the possibility of a medium employing ventriloquism in
producing voices ostensibly from the trumpet. One method is
to fill the medium’s mouth with water. During the investigation
of the medium Mina Crandon (better known as ‘‘Margery’’),
Mark Richardson of Boston invented a ‘‘Voice Control Machine.’’
The American direct voice medium Elizabeth Blake used a
double trumpet with a saucer-shaped extension at the small
end to be placed on the ear of the sitter and on her own. Another
trumpet, the ‘‘Shastaphone,’’ was developed through a psychic
communication in Australia, but does not appear to have
been widely used.