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The Communigraph

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The idea of communicating with the spirit world via machines came from George Jobson. Jobson was born in 1862 in Horncastle, Lincolnshire, England. He had his first experiences with Spiritualism in the family circle at home as a child and showed some promise as a medium until he began attending Sunday school. He never married, instead becoming a photographer’s assistant at the age of 16 and working on the road as a commercial traveler.

Jobson’s interest in photography led to other scientific interests, including the telephone and x-rays. He experimented with wireless receivers and astronomical photography. Unfortunately, in November 1924 he had a stroke that left him paralyzed in the lower part of his body and he was bedridden.

It was at that time that Jobson met Basil K. Kirkby. Kirkby worked as a coachman and later ran a hairdressing business before becoming a milliner. He was involved with the Spiritual community when he met Jobson in 1925. Because Jobson was near death, they set a call sign, B.K.K., to use after Jobson’s death. As promised, Jobson communicated with Kirkby through the medium Mrs. I.E. Singleton, who gave the code letters Jobson had established.

Kirkby proceeded to create their first machine, the Reflectograph, with the aid of Mr. A. J. Ashdown, a researcher who tested instruments for the British Government and their War Office. The Reflectograph required a medium who could materialize ectoplasm, which was a rare ability. That may be why the men began developing another machine around 1931 that required no medium.

Estelle W. Stead wrote, “I have watched this built up step by step from the crude little model of some months ago into the beautiful instrument perfected today. I have listened to Mr. Jobson’s voice giving instructions and directions through Mrs. Singleton in trance….”

The Communigraph was developed for use at home circles and worked like a Quija board in some respects. The sitters in the room would provide the energy to make the machine move without touching the device.

The machine was built into a round table. On the top was a square white glass screen painted with letters. Clamped between the table’s legs, letters of the alphabet were arranged in a circle on a wooden disk. A ball was suspended from the top of the table from a brass counterbalance rod that could pivot in an arc, allowing the ball to move and come to a stop above an individual letter. The corresponding letter would light up on the glass plate above.

It is unknown how many Communigraphs were made and sold. After the death of British diplomat Sir Vincent Caillard, Lady Zoe Caillard transcribed a book dictated by the spirit of her husband using the Communigraph entitled A New Conception of Love (1934). The only machine in existence today is located in the Britten Museum and Library at Arthur Findlay College, Stansted Hall in England.

Additional Reading:

Ashdown, A.J. (Publication date unknown).  The Ashkir-Jobson Trianion. Wimbledon Park, London.

A Means of Spirit Communication – designed from the spirit world.” The Pioneer, Volume 7, No. 6: December 2020.

Kirkby, B.K. “Spirit Inventions from Beyond – A Sequel to A Death Bed Promise.” Reprinted in The Pioneer, Volume 7, No. 6: December 2020

Demarest, Marc. “A Means of Spirit Communication – designed from the Spirit World! Some notes on the Reflectograph.” The Pioneer, Vol 8, No. 1: February 2021

KarenFebruary 9, 2021Karen's Korner

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