July 11, 1908




Minister Says He Solved the Imposi-
tion After a Long Season of
Prayer and Much Prac-
tial Study.

Spirit portrait painting, mind reading, spirit writing, spirit attendance, and all kinds of black magic are quite simple to do after one knows how -- So Rev. Andrew T. Osborn demonstrated in his expose of things spiritual and supernatural at the Grand Avenue Methodist church last night. The principal feature of the exposition was the spirit portrait painting as done by the Bangs sisters in Kansas City some weeks ago.

These sisters advertised that they were able to paint the portrait of any person who was dead, either as they were at the time of death or as they were at the time the portrait was painted. The consequence was that they painted many pictures in Kansas City and received a vast amount of money from many persons, over $10,000 from one individual. The pictures, on the whole, were so realistic and natural that they caused many people to have strong faith in the ability of the Bangs sisters to paint the pictures of departed ones.

It was Rev. Mr. Osborn's purpose last night to show that there was absolutely nothing supernatural about the work and his demonstration was undoubtedly a success.

"The Bangs sisters rented a luxurious apartment in Kansas City. They had much fine tapestry and many things which hid the crudeness of the work which you will see tonight," said he in introducing the work. "I am not here to fool you or to mystify you, so my work will be done without the blinding tapestry used by the two women in their work, but it will be just as successful and will be done exactly as their work was done.


"It is a peculiar fact that all seances for pictures had to be held in the day time. The person wishing a picture was asked to bring a photograph of the departed person with them. When they entered the room the picture was turned over to one of the Bangs sisters and placed in a double slate. The slate had a spring in it which was pressed by one of the sisters and handed to a hidden confederate. The secret spring could not be noticed by the person who desired the picture, as the slate was placed on a table with a false bottom.

"Then the Bangs sisters told the customer to select one of the various canvases which were placed in the room. The canvas selected was placed in a window. The curtain was drawn to the top of the canvas and side curtains drawn down its side. The only light which could get into the room then was the rays through the white canvas.

"While all of these details are being arranged the picture has been transferred to the film of a stereopticon lantern and replaced in the slate. The lantern is hidden from view in many rich curtains, and its rays are invisible because they are focused upon the white canvas through which the rays of the sun are seen. The two lights counteract each other and there is no added brightness.

"Now we are ready for the picture. The Bangs sisters sit at either side of the table directly under the canvas. The person desiring the picture is seated two or three feet in front of the canvas, his back to the stereopticon lantern. Then he is told to think of the face which is to be painted by spirit hands, and to think of nothing else.

"Deeply engrossed in thought, the person notices the form of the dead relative slowly and indistinctly appear upon the canvas. The confederate is slowly focusing the rays upon the sheet. It is marvelous. For the face and form of the dead relative slowly and indistinctly appear upon the sheet. It is marvelous. For the face and form of the relative grows distinct, and suddenly a beautiful picture is upon the screen.


"Perhaps, as in one case of which I know, the details do not exactly suit. Then the picture is suddenly wiped away and after the confederate has put a few daubs of paint here and there, changed the color of the eyes or such, it is again thrown upon the canvas, slowly and impressively , and it then suits the customer in every detail."

The minister was working while he talked and explained. He used a picture of William McKinley, and had it thrown upon the crude canvas which he constructed, minus the window and the tapestry. A very small boy operated the steropticon lantern, but when Rev. Mr. Osborn decided to change the expression about the late president's eyes, he took charge of the lantern himself. A few touches about the eyes and when the picture was seen again the eyes were light instead of dark.

"The marvelous angel painting has awed the customer by this time, but he is ordered to remain perfectly still and silent, lest he frighten away the spirit and the picture vanish. It will take some hours for it to become so impressed upon the canvas, he is told, that it will not fade away The Bangs sisters request that he come tomorrow for the finished picture, as it will be entirely ready then.

"By the time tomorrow comes, the picture has been reproduced upon a duplicate canvas which is laid between the original one and a false one. The whole is placed upon a trick table and when the customer returns for the picture of his dead brother, he is asked to place his hands firmly upon the canvas laid on the table in order to transfer the original print to the second and durable canvas While he is doing this the secret spring in the trick table, which costs $2.50 in Chicago, is pressed by one of the sisters and the bottom canvas disappears. It is then time to lift the original window canvas, and on the one beneath is seen the picture of the dead one, painted by sacred spirit hands. Oh, it's very easy and there is nothing supernatural about it whatever.


Someone in the audience who had received a picture of her dead sister without having taken a picture to the Bangs sisters' seance, challenged the minister in his statements. Rev. Mr. Osborn did not have time nor the facilities at hand in order to illustrate how that feature was overcome, but he explained fully.

"You went into the room at the Bangs sisters," said he, "and told them that you wanted a picture of your sister who had been dead a given time. The chances are that there was at least a resemblance between you and you were made to tell her age at the time she died. The confederate has a camera in behind the tapestry and she then, in this case it was a girl, takes a picture of you.

"After it has been transferred to the stereopticon lantern, which process takes only a few minutes, it is thrown upon the canvas in the window and then you make our criticisms, if there were any needed. If your sister was very young the picture looked older. She had grown somewhat in the spirit land, you see. If she was old at the time of her death, she looks younger, according to the way you look. She had grown younger in the spirit land, for in that place all wrinkles and signs of age disappear. That satisfies you, for it is explained in the catalogue of the Bangs sisters work, which you had read. You expected it and so there was not much criticism. Anyhow, it was a very beautiful picture.


The person who made the objection seemed to be entirely satisfied. The explanation had been a correct history of the case as it was with the Bangs sisters. The whole process, according to Rev. Mr. Osborn, depended upon the stereopticon lantern, which could not be seen by the visitor. Not being able to see anything which was responsible for the appearance of the picture, they were naturally mystified; and inasmuch as the Bangs sisters at either side of their table sat perfectly motionless and as in a trance, it was not hard for the applicant to believe that the portrait was done by angel hands. Rembrandt, for example.

All of Rev. Mr. Osborn's work in the angel portrait painting was done in the light, where his every move could be detected and also the actions of his young confederate. There was no attempt on his part to veil the painting with mystery. Many of those who objected so strenuously in the charges that he made against the Bangs sisters at his expose Thursday night were convinced that they had seen the solution of the "mystery" and pressed around Rev. Mr. Osborn after the meeting to express their thanks.